• Dacus oleae;
  • immunolocalization;
  • vitellogenesis;
  • vitellogenins;
  • yolk proteins

Synthesis and selective accumulation of the major yolk proteins in the developing oocytes of the speciesDacus oleae (Diptera: Tephritidae) was studied biochemically and by immunoelectron microscopy. In the hemolymph of adult females, two yolk proteins precursors (or vitellogenins) have been detected. They each exhibit a similar molecular weight and isoelectric point to their respective mature yolk proteins (or vitellins), while electrophoretic analysis of their synthetic profile shows that their levels in the hemolymph increase rapidly during development. Immunogold electron microscopy of ovarian sections, revealed that the hemolymph vitellogenins reach the oocyte through enlarged inter-follicular spaces and demonstrated vitellogenin synthesis by the follicle cells of the vitellogenic follicles. The newly synthesized vitellogenins follow a distinct secretory pathway into these cells as compared to other components being synthesized at the same time (e.g. the vitelline envelope proteins), since they were found in secretory vesicles that appeared to be differentiated from those destined to participate in the vitelline envelope. The vitellogenin-containing vesicles exocytose their contents directionally into the follicle cell/vitelline envelope boundary, and subsequently the vitellogenins diffuse among the gaps of the forming vitelline envelope and reach the oocyte plasma membrane. Their internalization by the oocyte includes the formation of an endocytic complex consisting of coated pits, coated vesicles, endosomes, transitional yolk bodies, and finally mature yolk bodies, in which the storage of the vitellins and other yolk proteins occur. These results are discussed in relation to data obtained from other Dipteran species.