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Ultrastructural evidence for transepithelial calcium transport in the anterior sternal epithelium of the terrestrial isopod Porcellio scaber during the formation and resorption of CaCO-3 deposits



Ultrastructural evidence for transepithelial calcium transport in the anterior sternal epithelium of the terrestrial isopod Porcellio scaber during the formation and resorption of CaCO-3 deposits



Cell & Tissue Research 284(3): 459-466



Before the molt, terrestrial isopods store large amounts of calcium carbonate between the epithelium and the old cuticle of the first four anterior sternites. In order to test whether the anterior sternal epithelium has specific structural differentiations indicative of transepithelial ion transport, the anterior sternal epithelium and, as a control, the posterior sternal epithelium were studied using electron-microscopical techniques. During the formation of calcium carbonate deposits, the basolateral plasma membrane of the anterior sternal epithelium forms an elaborate interconnected network of interstitial dilations and channels. Numerous osmiophilic granules occur within this basolateral intercellular network during resorption of the calcium carbonate deposits. Electron energy-loss spectroscopy of the osmiophilic granules indicates that they contain calcium. During the resorption of the calcium carbonate deposits, the apical plasma membrane of the anterior sternal epithelium has many subcuticular folds. An interstitial network, osmiophilic granules, and apical, subcuticular folds do not occur in the posterior sternal epithelium. Taken together, these structural features are indicative of transepithelial ion transport and are probably necessary for the formation and resorption of the anterior sternal calcium carbonate deposits.

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