The role of the fat body, midgut and ovary in vitellogenin production and vitellogenesis in the female tick, Dermacentor variabilis


Polyclonal antibodies directed against D. variabilis vitellin were utilized for immunocytochemistry at the ultrastructural level. We localized vitelligenin (Vg) in rough endoplasmic reticulum cisternae, secretory granules and secreted products of fat body trophocytes and midgut vitellogenic cells from feeding and ovipositing females. Vg was localized in the oocyte Golgi bodies and in the yolk bodies of both feeding and ovipositing females. Uptake of exogenous Vg was indicated by the presence of immunospecific gold probe in coated pits and coated vesicles at the apical plasma membrane of oocytes from females in rapid engorgement and oviposition. In unmated females little detectable evidence of Vg uptake by developing oocytes suggests that mating and host detachment signal the beginning of vitellogenesis. We conclude that fat body trophocytes, midgut vitellogenic cells and oocytes are involved in the synthesis and/or processing of Vg and that feeding is the signal associated with the initiation of Vg synthesis and/or processing. © 1992 Australian Society for Parasitology.

Publication Title

International Journal for Parasitology