Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera


  • Paul D. Shirk
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_3989

Vitellogenesis is the process of production and accumulation of yolk in a developing oocyte. Female insects seek out a nutritionally suitable environment that will potentially provide more than adequate food resources for her larvae. This behavior assures the propagation of the species. However, before the larva hatches onto its nourishing meal, each egg must come complete with all the developmental instructions (localized determinants), cytological machinery (e.g., ribosomes, mitochondria, and RNAs) and nutrients (yolk) necessary to complete embryogenesis and support the maturation of the embryo through larval hatching and into the first larval instar. The process of vitellogenesis or the production and packaging of nutrients, primarily vitellin or yolk proteins, into the developing oocyte within the ovary is critical to providing the egg with the nutrient resources to complete embryogenesis.

As described under oogenesis, the polytrophic ovary is comprised of ovarioles that contain an...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bownes M (1986) Expression of the genes-coding for vitellogenin (yolk protein). Annu Rev Entomol 31:507–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chen JS, Sappington TW, Raikhel AS (1997) Extensive sequence conservation among insect, nematode, and vertebrate vitellogenins reveals ancient common an cestry. J Mol Evol 44:440–451CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Hagedorn HH, Maddison DR, Tu ZJ (1998) The evolution of vitellogenins, cyclorrhaphan yolk proteins and related molecules. Adv Insect Physiol 7:335–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Raikhel AS, Dhadialla TS (1992) Accumulation of yolk proteins in insect oocytes. Annu Rev Entomol 37:217–251CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Sappington TW, Raikhel AS (1998) Molecular characteristics of insect vitellogenins and vitellogenin receptors. Insect Biochem Mol Biol 28:277–300CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Swevers L, Raikhel AS, Sappington TW, Shirk PD, Iatrou K (2005) Vitellogenesis and post-vitellogenic maturation of the insect ovarian follicle. In: Gilbert LI, Iatrou K, Gill SS (eds) Comprehensive molecular insect science. Elsevier, London, UK, pp 87–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Telfer WH, Huebner E, Smith DS (1982) The cell biology of vitellogenic follicles in Hyalophora and Rhodnius. In: King RC, Akai H (eds) Insect ultrastructure, vol 1. Plenum Press, New York, NY, pp 118–149Google Scholar
  8. Wahli W (1988) Evolution and expression of vitellogenin genes. Trends Genet 4:227–232CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul D. Shirk
    • 1
  1. 1.USDA, Agricultural Research ServiceGainesvilleUSA