The eye pigment system in Drosophila melanogaster has been studied with the electron microscope. Details in the development of pigment granules in wild type flies and in three eye color mutants are described. Four different types of pigment granules have been found. Type I granules, which carry ommochrome pigment and occur in both primary and secondary pigment cells of ommatidia, are believed to develop as vesicular secretions by way of the Golgi apparatus. The formation of Type II granules, which are restricted to the secondary pigment cells and contain drosopterin pigments, involves accumulation of 60- to 80-A fibers producing an elliptical granule. Type III granules appear to be empty vesicles, except for small marginal areas of dense material; they are thought to be abnormal entities containing ommochrome pigment. Type IV granules are characteristic of colorless mutants regardless of genotype, and during the course of development they often contain glycogen, ribosomes, and show acid phosphatase activity; for these reasons and because of their bizarre and variable morphology, they are considered to be autophagic vacuoles. The 300-A particles commonly found in pigment cells are identified as glycogen on the basis of their morphology and their sensitivity to salivary digestion.

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