Ultrastructural and functional analysis of secretory goblet cells in the midgut of the lepidopteran Anticarsia gemmatalis
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Defoliation caused by Anticarsia gemmatalis larvae affects the commercial production of the soybean. Although regulation of the digestion of soybean components has become part of the suggested strategy to overcome problems caused by Anticarsia larvae, few studies have focused on the morphological and cellular aspects of Anticarsia intestinal tissue. We have therefore further analyzed the morphology and ultrastructure of the midgut of 5th instar larvae of A. gemmatalis. Dissected midgut was subjected to chemical or cryo-fixation and then to several descriptive and analytical techniques associated with both light and electron microscopy in order to correlate anatomical and physiological aspects of this organ. Histological analysis revealed typical anatomy composed of a cell layer limited by a peritrophic membrane. The identified lepidoptera-specific goblet cells were shown to contain several mitochondria inside microvilli of the goblet cell cavity and a vacuolar H+-ATPase possibly coupled to a K+-pumping system. Columnar cells were present and exhibited microvilli dispersed along the apical region that also presented secretory characteristics. We additionally found evidence for the secretion of polyphosphate (PolyP) into the midgut, a result corroborating previous reports suggesting an excretion route from the goblet cell cavity toward the luminal space. Thus, our results suggest that the Anticarsia midgut not only possesses several typical lepidopteran features but also presents some unique aspects such as the presence of a tubular network and PolyP-containing apocrine secretions, plus an apparent route for the release of cellular debris by the goblet cells.
KeywordsGoblet cell Polyphosphate Ultrastructure Midgut Lepidoptera Anticarsia gemmatalis
We express our gratitude to Prof. Helmut Wieczorek and Dr. Markus Huss, University of Osnabrück for providing antibodies of the subunit e M. sexta and to Dr. Eduardo Fox and Prof. Wanderley de Souza for proofreading.
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