Ultrastructural analysis of developing oocytes produced by the recessive female sterile mutant, yolkless (yl), in Drosophila melanogaster shows that yl+ gene activity is necessary for coated pit and coated vesicle formation within these oocytes. 29 alleles of the mutation are known to exist, and they fall either within a strongly affected class or a weakly affected class. Analysis of oocytes produced by females homozygous for the strongly affected class of alleles shows a greater than 90% reduction in the numbers of coated pits and coated vesicles. These oocytes have very little proteinaceous yolk, and the females accumulate vitellogenin (the yolk protein precursor) within their hemolymph. Moreover, females homozygous or hemizygous for a given strong allele produce mature oocytes that are flaccid. Alternatively, females homozygous or hemizygous for weak alleles produce yolk-filled oocytes, but the number of coated pits and coated vesicles within these oocytes is 50% of that found in the oocytes of wild-type females. Despite the presence of yolk within these oocytes, females homozygous for weak yl- alleles remain sterile, and their mature oviposited eggs collapse with time.

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