This study evidence for tension transmission by microtubules and desmosomes in the follicular epithelium during anisometric growth of certain insect eggs. Most insect oocytes, and the follicles which surround them, grow anisometrically as they assume shapes which approximate to those of long prolate spheroids. Surface growth is most rapid in directions which parallel the polar axis of an oocyte and slowest in circumferential directions at right angles to this axis. The longitudinal axes of microtubule bundles in follicle cells of the gall midge Heteropeza and the cockroach Periplaneta are oriented circumferentially with respect to the surfaces of developing eggs and at right angles to the polar axes of eggs. At cell boundaries, the tubules appear to be attached to spot desmosomes. It is suggested that microtubules and desmosomes form a mechanical continuum throughout a follicular epithelium which transmits tensile forces around the circumference of a growing egg. Follicular resistance to circumferential expansion may be largely responsible for defining the elongate form of insect eggs.

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