- ACADEMIC PRESS INC
Within developing ovaries of many insects, some developing follicles or oocytes usually degenerate (follicular atresia or oosorption), while the others may continue to grow to maturity, thus maintaining the balance between the number of eggs and reproductive circumstances such as available nutrients. To help clarify the phenomenon of follicular atresia during ovarian development, we examined cysteine proteinases stored in mosquito Culex pipiens pollens ovaries. First, analysis using synthesized substrates showed that cathepsin B- and L-like proteinases gradually accumulated in the developing ovaries after a blood meal, which required more than 10 min of preincubation under acidic conditions to reach their maximum activities. However, homogenates of degenerating follicles 3 days after feeding showed proteolytic activities without acid treatment, suggesting that the proteinases had already been activated, while the extract of normally developing follicles collected from the same ovaries required more than 10 min of acid preincubation to reach the optimum activities, suggesting that the enzymes remained as inactive forms. Chemical and immunohistochemical analyses showed that more proteinases are located in the cytoplasm, rather than being associated with yolk granules. Ovarian proteinases, which are believed to become activated at the onset of embryogenesis, should also be activated during oogenesis, presumably to enhance oosorption. (C) 2001 Academic Press.
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