The formation of yolk spheres in the oocyte of the cecropia moth, Hyalophora cecropia (L.), is known immunologically to result largely from uptake of a sex-limited blood protein. Recent electron microscope analyses of insect and other animal oocytes have demonstrated fine structural configurations consistent with uptake of proteins by pinocytosis. An electron microscope analysis of the cecropia ovary confirms the presence of similar structural modifications. With the exception of two apparently amorphous layers, the basement lamella on the outer surface of the follicular epithelium and the vitelline membrane on the inner, there is free access of blood to the oocyte surface between follicle cells. Dense material is found in the interfollicular cell space and adsorbed to the outer surface of the much folded oocyte membrane. Pits in the oocyte membrane and vesicles immediately under it are lined with the same dense material not unlike the yolk spheres in appearance. Introduction of ferritin into the blood of a developing cecropia moth and its localization adsorbed to the surface of the oocyte, and within the vesicles and yolk spheres of the oocyte cortex, is experimental evidence that the structural modifications of the oocyte cortex represent stages in the pinocytosis of blood proteins which arrive at the oocyte surface largely by an intercellular route. Small tubules attached to the yolk spheres are provisionally interpreted as a manifestation of oocyte-synthesized protein being contributed to the yolk spheres.

This content is only available as a PDF.