, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 35-77

Salivary gland function and chromosomal puffing patterns in Drosophila hydei

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Summary

The salivary glands of D. hydei larvae show differences between the cells in the distal (posterior) part and those of the proximal (anterior) part during the third instar. The first sign of these differences is an increase in cellular and nuclear volume in the distal cells of the gland, beginning at 103 hours after oviposition. After 125 hours the cytoplasm of the extreme distal cells acquires a reticulated structure, and at 130 hours these cells contain large granules or droplets of mucoprotein. From this moment up to puparium formation the number of cells containing these granules increases and the boundary of this type of cells shows a shift in the proximal direction. Just before puparium formation the granules disappear from the cells and a glue substance is secreted by the larvae. At this moment only a few cells in the extreme proximal part still lack granules. Electron-microscopical observations indicate that these cells were active in secretion, whereas all cells containing large granules are inactive in this respect during most of the third instar.

During the early third instar a change in cell function occurs, i.e. from synthesis of substances presumed to be digestive enzymes which are secreted, to a synthesis of a glue substance which is stored. This change begins in the extreme distal cells of the gland.

Investigation of the chromosomal puffing pattern revealed that a total number of 148 puffs were present during some period of the third instar, prepupal, and early pupal stages. The activity of 110 puffs was evaluated during a series of successive time intervals. Changes in the puffing pattern during puparium formation were compared with those observed during pupation.

Proximal and distal nuclei differ in the activity level of a number of puffs, but only puff 47 B is restricted in activity to the distal cells. This puff becomes active at 119 hours and disappears 4 hours before puparium formation (156 hours). Determination of nuclear diameter and DNA in nuclei of both parts of the gland revealed a correlation between a particular DNA content and the function of the cell. Distal cells show higher nuclear diameters than proximal cells after the onset of granule production. The first differences in nuclear diameter can be seen at 103 hours. Cells in the transitional part of the gland, located between distal granulecontaining and proximal granule-negative cells, always show the same DNA content. These cells are found at different locations within the gland during the third instar. This zone of cells shows a shift in proximal direction during the third instar, identical to that of the neighbouring granule-containing cells.

The possible interrelation between nuclear DNA content, the activity of puff 47 B, and the production of the glue substance were discussed.