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Ultrastructural evidence for the endocrine nature of the lateral organs of the cattle tick Boophilus microplus



Ultrastructural evidence for the endocrine nature of the lateral organs of the cattle tick Boophilus microplus



Tissue and cell 3(3): 475-490



The lateral organs of the tick Boophilus microplus were previously thought to have a neurohaemal function, but the present study shows that they consist of glandular cells which contain a rich system of smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER) and Golgi but no indication of neurosecretory production or release. There is acid phosphatase activity throughout the SER as well as in Golgi and a major function of the latter may be the production of lysosomal enzymes. It is suggested that the organs are endocrine glands and that, in engorged females, may secrete a hormone involved in the control of vitellogenesis. The organs are more active in feeding than in unfed males and a related function could be in control of the development of genital organs or spermatogenesis. Also present in the cells are coated vesicles, lipid droplets and microtubules. Coated vesicles close to Golgi are probably primary lysosomes whereas those near the periphery are shown by ferritin tracer to arise from coated pits. Pinocytosis could be involved in membrane retrieval but, in the absence of evidence for exocytosis, this seems unlikely. It is tentatively proposed that, by analogy with vertebrate and insect endocrine glands, the lateral organs may take up hormone precursor via coated vesicles for storage in lipid droplets and conversion to hormone in the SER. As in other SER-rich endocrine glands, the release mechanism for the hormone or other secretory product of the lateral organs is uncertain. Both the steroid, ecdysone and the terpenoid, juvenile hormone, are discussed as possible candidates for the lateral organ hormones.

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Accession: 001026902

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 7324027

DOI: 10.1016/0040-8166(81)90020-3


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