Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 239, Issue 2, pp 317–327 | Cite as

Ultrastructure of corpora allata of known activity during the vitellogenic cycle in the cockroach Diploptera punctata

  • Genevieve D. Johnson
  • Barbara Stay
  • Susan M. Rankin


Ultrastructure was correlated with rates of juvenile hormone synthesis in corpora allata from females of the viviparous cockroach Diploptera punctata at seven daily intervals during the first vitellogenic cycle. Synthetic activity of the glands was determined by in vitro radiochemical assay before the glands were fixed for electron microscopic analysis. The cycle in rates of juvenile hormone synthesis progressed from about 20 pmol h-1 per gland pair (oocytes 0.60 mm long) to a maximum mean rate of 140 pmol h-1 per pair (oocytes 1.40–1.47 mm long) and declined to about 20 pmol h-1 per pair at ovulation (oocytes about 1.65 mm long). Conspicuous ultrastructural changes occurred with changing synthetic rates. In glands with increasing rates of synthesis, mitochondria showed less electron-dense matrix, greater diameter and more irregular shape. Smooth endoplasmic reticulum changed from easily seen to obscure tubules, networks, and vesicles. Rough endoplasmic reticulum appeared in longer, more curved segments. Newly formed autophagic vacuoles appeared in all glands of highest activity rates. In glands with decreasing rates of synthesis, the mitochondrial matrix became denser, width smaller, and shapes less irregular. Smooth endoplasmic reticulum again appeared tubular and distinct. Golgi complexes were more conspicuous. Rough endoplasmic reticulum in whorls and large numbers of autophagic vacuoles continued to be present.

Key words

Corpora allata Ultrastructure Juvenile hormone Rates of synthesis Reproductive cycle 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bassett JR, Pollard I (1980) The involvement of coated vesicles in the secretion of corticosterone by the zona fasciculata of the rat adrenal cortex. Tissue Cell 12:101–115Google Scholar
  2. Beaulaton JA (1968) Modifications ultrastructurales des cellules sécrétrices de la gland prothoracique de vers à soie au cours des deux derniers âges larvaires I. Le chondriome, et ses relations avec le réticulum agranulaire. J Cell Biol 39:501–525Google Scholar
  3. Birkenbeil H (1983) Ultrastructural and immunocytochemical investigation of ecdysteroid secretion by the prothoracic gland of the waxmoth Galleria mellonella. Cell Tissue Res 229:433–441Google Scholar
  4. Brousse-Gaury P, Cassier P, Fain-Maurel MA (1973) Contribution expérimentale et infrastructurale a l'étude de la dynamique des corpora allata chez Blabera fusca. Influence du groupement visuel, des afférences ocellaires et antennaires. Bull Biol Fr Belg 107:143–169Google Scholar
  5. Cassier P (1979) The corpora allata of insects. Int Rev Cytol 57:1–73Google Scholar
  6. Cazal P (1948) Les glandes endocrines rétro-cérébrales des insectes. Bull Biol Fr Belg Suppl 32:1–227Google Scholar
  7. Christensen AK, Gillim SW (1969) The correlation of fine structure and function in steroid-secreting cells, with emphasis on those of the gonads. In: McKerns KW (ed) The gonads. Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York, pp 415–488Google Scholar
  8. Coaker T, Downie T, More IAR (1982) Complex giant mitochondria in the human endometrial glandular cell: serial sectioning, high-voltage electron microscopic, and three-dimensional reconstruction studies. J Ultrastruct Res 78:283–291Google Scholar
  9. Elliott HJ (1976) Structural analysis of the corpus allatum of an aphid, Aphis craccivora. J Insect Physiol 22:1275–1279Google Scholar
  10. Engelmann F (1959) The control of reproduction in Diploptera punctata (Blattaria). Bio Bull Mar Biol Lab, Woods Hole 116:406–419Google Scholar
  11. Ewing LL, Zirkin BR (1983) Leydig cell structure and steroidogenic function. In: Greep RO (ed) Recent Prog Horm Res, Academic Press, New York, New York, London 39:599–635Google Scholar
  12. Fain-Maurel MA, Cassier P (1969) Pléomorphisme mitochondrial dans les corpora allata de Locusta migratoria migratorioides (R. et F.) au cours de la vie imaginale. Z Zellforsch 102:543–553Google Scholar
  13. Farquhar MG (1982) Membrane recycling in secretory cells: pathway to the Golgi complex. In: Evered D, Collins GM (eds) Membrane Recycling Ciba Found Symp 92, Pitman, London, pp 157–183Google Scholar
  14. Feyereisen R, Johnson G, Koener J, Stay B, Tobe SS (1981a) Precocenes as pro-allatocidins in adult female Diploptera punctata: a functional and ultrastructural study. J Insect Physiol 27:855–868Google Scholar
  15. Feyereisen R, Pratt GE, Hamnett AF (1981b) Enzymic synthesis of juvenile hormone in locust corpora allata: Evidence for a microsomal cytochrome P-450 linked methyl farnesoate epoxidase. Eur J Biochem 118:231–238Google Scholar
  16. Feyereisen R, Ruegg RP, Tobe SS (1984) Juvenile hormone III biosynthesis: stoichiometric incorporation of [2-14C] acetate and effects of exogenous farnesol and farnesoic acid. Insect Biochem 14:657–661Google Scholar
  17. Giardie J, Granier S (1974) Ultrastructure des corps allates d'Anac ridium aegyptium (Insecte Orthoptère) a l'avant-dernier stade larvaire et durant la vie imaginale. Arch Anat Microsc Morphol Exp 63:251–268Google Scholar
  18. Hackenbrock CR (1968) Ultrastructural bases for metabolically linked mechanical activity in mitochondria II. Electron transport-linked ultrastructural transformations in mitochondria. J Cell Biol 37:345–369Google Scholar
  19. Haget A, Ressouches A, Rogueda J (1981) Chronological and ultrastructural observations on the activities of the embryonic corpus allatum in Carausius morosus Br (Phasmida: Lonchodidae). Int J Insect Morphol Embryol 10:65–81Google Scholar
  20. Haget A, Ressouches A, Rogueda J (1982) Ultrastructural detection of endocrine activities in the ventral glands of the head of Carausius (Phasmida: Lonchodidae) during embryonic development. Int J Insect Morphol Embryol 11:99–108Google Scholar
  21. Ito S, Karnovsky MJ (1968) Formaldehyde-glutaraldehyde fixatives containing trinitro compounds. J Cell Biol 39:168 aGoogle Scholar
  22. Joly L, Porte A, Girardie A (1967) Caractère ultrastructuraux des corpora allata actifs et inactifs chez Locusta migratoria. CR Séances Acad Sci [D] 265:1633–1635Google Scholar
  23. Joly L, Joly P, Porte A, Girardie A (1968) Étude physiologique et ultrastructurale des corpora allata de Locusta migratoria L. (Orthoptère) en phase grégaire. Arch Zool Exp Gen 109:703–727Google Scholar
  24. Kaiser H (1980) Licht- und elektronenmikroskopische Untersuchung der Corpora allata der Eintagsfliege Ephemera danica Müll. (Ephemeroptera: Ephemeridae) während der Metamorphose. Int J Insect Morphol Embryol 9:395–403Google Scholar
  25. Lee E, Schooley DA, Hall MS, Judy KJ (1978) Juvenile hormone biosynthesis: Homomevalonate and mevalonate synthesis by insect corpus allatum enzymes. J Chem Soc Chem Commun 7:290–292Google Scholar
  26. Monger DJ, Law JH (1982) Control of juvenile hormone biosynthesis. J Biol Chem 257:1921–1923Google Scholar
  27. Morré DJ, Kartenbeck J, Franke WW (1979) Membrane flow and interconversions among endomembranes. Biochim Biophys Acta 559:71–152Google Scholar
  28. Nussdorfer GG (1980) Cytophysiology of the adrenal zona glomerulosa. Int Rev Cytol 64:307–368Google Scholar
  29. Otto DA, Ontko JA (1982) Structure-function relations between fatty acid oxidation and the mitochondrial inner-membrane — matrix region. Eur J Biochem 129:479–485Google Scholar
  30. Scharrer B (1964) Histophysiological studies on the corpus allatum of Leucophaea maderae. IV. Ultrastructure during normal activity cycle. Z Zellforsch 62:125–148Google Scholar
  31. Scharrer B (1971) Histophysiological studies on the corpus allatum of Leucophaea maderae V. Ultrastructure of sites of origin and release of a distinctive cellular product. Z Zellforsch 120:1–16Google Scholar
  32. Sohal RS, McCarthy JL, Allison VF (1972) The formation of ‘giant’ mitochondria in the fibrillar flight muscles of the house fly, Musca domestica L. J Ultrastruct Res 39:484–495Google Scholar
  33. Szibbo CM, Tobe SS (1981) Cellular and volumetric changes in relation to the activity cycle in the corpora allata of Diploptera punctata. J Insect Physiol 27:655–665Google Scholar
  34. Tobe SS, Pratt GE (1974) The influence of substrate concentrations on the rate of juvenile hormone biosynthesis by corpora allata of the desert locust in vitro. Biochem J 144:107–113Google Scholar
  35. Tobe SS, Stay B (1977) Corpus allatum activity in vitro during the reproductive cycle of the viviparous cockroach Diploptera punctata (Eschscholtz). Gen Comp Endocrinol 31:138–147Google Scholar
  36. Tobe SS, Stay B (1984) Regulation of the corpora allata in insects. In: Adv Insect Physiol v 18 (in press)Google Scholar
  37. Yin CM, Chippendale GM (1979) Ultrastructural characteristics of insect corpora allata in relation to larval diapause. Cell Tissue Res 197:453–461Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Genevieve D. Johnson
    • 1
  • Barbara Stay
    • 1
  • Susan M. Rankin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA

Personalised recommendations