The ampullate silk gland of the spider, Araneus sericatus, produces the silk fiber for the scaffolding of the web. The fine structure of the various parts of the gland is described. The distal portion of the duct consist of a tube of epithelial cells which appear to secrete a substance which forms the tunica intima of the duct wall. At the proximal end of the duct there is a region of secretory cells. The epithelium of the sac portion contains five morphologically distinct types of granules. The bulk of the synthesis of silk occurs in the tail of the gland, and in this region only a single type of secretory droplet is seen in the epithelium. Protein synthesis can be stimulated by the injection of 1 mg/kg acetylcholine into the body fluids. 10 min after injection, much of the protein stored in the cytoplasm of the epithelial cells has been secreted into the lumen. 20 min after stimulation, the ergastoplasmic sacs form large whorls in the cytoplasm. Protein, similar in electron-opacity to protein found in the lumen, begins to form in that portion of the cytoplasm which is enclosed by the whorls. The limiting membrane of these droplets is formed by ergastoplasmic membranes which lose their ribosomes. No Golgi material has been found in these cells. Protein appears to be manufactured in the cytoplasm of the tail cells in a form which is ready for secretion.
CHANGES IN FINE STRUCTURE DURING SILK PROTEIN PRODUCTION IN THE AMPULLATE GLAND OF THE SPIDER ARANEUS SERICATUS
Allen L. Bell, David B. Peakall; CHANGES IN FINE STRUCTURE DURING SILK PROTEIN PRODUCTION IN THE AMPULLATE GLAND OF THE SPIDER ARANEUS SERICATUS . J Cell Biol 1 July 1969; 42 (1): 284–295. doi: https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.42.1.284
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