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Photoreceptor membrane breakdown in the spider Dinopis: Localisation of acid phosphatases


The ultrastructural localisation of acid phosphatases (AcPhs) during the normal daily breakdown of rhabdomere membrane in Dinopis has been examined using β-glycerophosphate and p-nitrophenyl phosphate as substrates. Results are related to the classification of organelles in the receptors given by Blest, Powell and Kao (1978). Weak and infrequent reactions are obtained in multivesicular bodies (mvbs) and multilamellar bodies (mlbs) derived from them. Residual bodies (rbs) begin to react strongly as they lyse. Source of AcPhs is endoplasmic reticulum which has barely differentiated towards the GERL configuration; it becomes reactive as it is incorporated into secondary lysosomes. GERL tubules, Y-bodies and vesicles respond erratically and weakly, and are also incorporated into rbs. No evidence was found for a significant participation of Golgi bodies in these processes, and acid phosphatase cytochemistry fails to reveal a topographical relationship between GERL in these cells and Golgi saccules. Coated vesicle clusters found in the predawn receptive segments are AcPh-negative; this implies that their previous identification as GERL-derived “Nebenkerne” carrying hydrolytic enzymes to newly-formed mvbs (Blest, Kao and Powell, 1978) is dubious. Isolation bodies and autophagic vacuoles enclosing other organelles in pathological receptors give strong reactions while adjacent secondary lysosomes derived from rhabdomere membrane and associated GERL give weak ones. It is concluded that rhabdomere-derived rb lysis is more tightly regulated than other autophagic processes, and it is suggested that a high degree of control is necessary in a receptor which may repeat the autophagy of a large mass of transductive membrane at least 60–100 times in the course of its working life.

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Correspondence to Dr. A. D. Blest.

Additional information

The authors thank Professor D.T. Anderson F.R.S. for the use of field facilities at the Crommelin Biological Field Station of Sydney University at Warrah, Pearl Beach, New South Wales throughout all these studies; Dr. Gary Griffiths (EMBO, Heidelberg) and Dr. Alex Pyliotis (Biochemistry, SGS, Australian National University) for some helpful comments on acid phosphatase histochemistry; Sally J. Stowe for help in the field; and Rod Whitty and the staff on the Electron Microscopy Unit for advice and support. Figure 28 was prepared by Chris Snoek

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Blest, A.D., Price, G.D. & Maples, J. Photoreceptor membrane breakdown in the spider Dinopis: Localisation of acid phosphatases. Cell Tissue Res. 199, 455–472 (1979).

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Key words

  • Photoreceptor membrane turnover
  • Acid phosphatases
  • Autophagy
  • GERL
  • Nocturnal spider, Dinopis subrufus L. Koch