The biosynthesis of the peptides caerulein and PGLa in granular skin glands of Xenopus laevis proceeds through a pathway that involves discrete morphological rearrangements of the entire secretory compartment. Immunocytochemical localization of these peptides during gland development indicates that biosynthetic precursors are synthesized in intact secretory cells, whereas posttranslational processing requires morphological reorganization to a vacuolated stage. The bulk of the processed secretory material is then stored in vacuolae-derived storage granules. In the mature gland, storage granules are still formed at a low level. However, in this case processing takes place in a distinct cytoplasmic structure, the multicored body, which we suggest to be functionally equivalent to vacuolae. When granular glands regenerate after having lost all their storage granules upon strong stimuli, another morphological pathway is used. 2 wk after gland depletion, secretory cells become arranged in a monolayer that covers the luminal surface of the gland. Storage granules are formed continuously within these intact secretory cells. Here, precursor processing does not require a vacuolated stage as in newly generated glands but occurs in multicored bodies. Most storage granules seem to be formed in the third week of regeneration. The high biosynthetic activity is also reflected by the high activity of the putative processing enzyme dipeptidyl aminopeptidase during this period of regeneration.

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