(1/908) The crayfish plasma clotting protein: a vitellogenin-related protein responsible for clot formation in crustacean blood.

Coagulation in crayfish blood is based on the transglutaminase-mediated crosslinking of a specific plasma clotting protein. Here we report the cloning of the subunit of this clotting protein from a crayfish hepatopancreas cDNA library. The ORF encodes a protein of 1,721 amino acids, including a signal peptide of 15 amino acids. Sequence analysis reveals that the clotting protein is homologous to vitellogenins, which are proteins found in vitellogenic females of egg-laying animals. The clotting protein and vitellogenins are all lipoproteins and share a limited sequence similarity to certain other lipoproteins (e.g., mammalian apolipoprotein B and microsomal triglyceride transfer protein) and contain a stretch with similarity to the D domain of mammalian von Willebrand factor. The crayfish clotting protein is present in both sexes, unlike the female-specific vitellogenins. Electron microscopy was used to visualize individual clotting protein molecules and to study the transglutaminase-mediated clotting reaction. In the presence of an endogenous transglutaminase, the purified clotting protein molecules rapidly assemble into long, flexible chains that occasionally branch.  (+info)

(2/908) Estrogen induction of VLDLy assembly in egg-laying hens.

The yolk of a 60-g chicken egg contains 6 g of triacylglycerols transported to the oocyte from the liver of the laying hen in apolipoprotein (apo) B-containing particles. With the onset of egg production, estrogen shifts hepatocytic lipoprotein production from generic VLDL to VLDLy (yolk targeted). These VLDLy are triacylglycerol-rich particles; they are reduced in size by one half, are resistant to lipoprotein lipase and are taken up intact by oocyte receptors. The VLDLy pathway for apoB provides sufficient energy for the caloric requirements of chick development. VLDLy size reduction occurs in spite of surplus liver triacylglycerols and is necessary for VLDL particles to pass through the granulosa basal lamina and reach the receptors located on the oocyte surface. New ultrastructural data show that some proximal tubule cells of bird kidney secrete generic VLDL, perhaps providing energy and other VLDL-associated nutrients to tissues bypassed by VLDLy. Birds are an apoB100-only species, providing a natural in vivo model with which to investigate mechanisms of apoB100 VLDL assembly. Preliminary studies of liver lipoprotein assembly intermediates isolated from the biosynthetic membranes (endoplasmic reticulum) of the laying hen are consistent with the presence of both putative first- and second-step precursor particles of VLDLy. These findings suggest that the two-step mechanism of apoB core lipidation is an ancient development in apoB biology, handed down to mammals from oviparous ancestors.  (+info)

(3/908) The effects of age and sex steroids on the macrophage population in the ovary of the chicken, Gallus domesticus.

The role of macrophages in the function of the hen ovary has not yet been described, although these cells may be an important regulator of ovarian function in mammals. The aim of this study was to determine the changes in the frequency of macrophages during ageing and follicular atresia, and the effects of sex steroids on the macrophage population in the hen ovary. Cryostat sections of ovarian tissues of immature, young laying and old laying hens and those of immature hens treated with or without diethylstilboestrol (DES) or progesterone were immunostained for macrophage cells using mouse anti-chicken macrophage monoclonal antibody. Macrophages were observed under a light microscope and counted using a computer assisted image analyser. The frequency of macrophages in both the stroma and theca of primary follicles was significantly greater in young laying hens than in immature and old laying hens and these cells were more frequent in old laying hens than in immature hens (P < 0.01). Macrophages were more frequent in atretic follicles than in normal follicles (P < 0.01). The number of macrophages in both the stroma and theca of primary follicles of DES-treated birds was significantly greater than in those of progesterone-treated and control birds (P < 0.01). Progesterone had no significant effect on the population of macrophages. These results suggest that macrophages in the ovary increase in association with sexual maturation of birds and atresia of follicles and decrease during ageing. Oestrogen may be one of the factors that affect the population of macrophages in the hen ovary.  (+info)

(4/908) Effect of long-term food restriction on pituitary sensitivity to cLHRH-I in broiler breeder females.

The effect of long-term food restriction on the sensitivity of the pituitary to exogenously administered chicken luteinizing hormone releasing hormone I (cLHRH-I) was investigated in three groups of broiler breeder females fed ad libitum, fed a restricted quantity of food or fed a restricted quantity of food to obtain an intermediate body weight between those of the first two groups. At 16 weeks of age, basal FSH release was higher in ad libitum fed birds, culminating in ovarian development and subsequent oestradiol production by the small follicles. At this age, LH secretion was independent of ovarian feedback factors. In all groups, cLHRH-I was most active in releasing LH in intact and ovariectomized animals and, to a lesser extent, in releasing FSH in ovariectomized birds. At 39 weeks of age, basal FSH concentrations were similar among intact animals of all groups, whereas LH concentrations differed among groups, with higher values in the restricted birds. This food effect was enhanced in ovariectomized birds. Furthermore, the high response to cLHRH-I in the ovariectomized, restricted birds compared with the ad libitum, ovariectomized group suggests an improved sensitivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. In conclusion, birds fed ad libitum showed the highest responsiveness to ovarian factors and to cLHRH-I in releasing FSH in the period before sexual maturity. No effect of amount of feeding could be observed for LH. However, during the egg laying period, LH release by cLHRH-I was highly dependent on amount of feeding and on ovarian feedback regulation. This finding indicates that the amount of feeding can modify the sensitivity of the pituitary to cLHRH-I, and possibly to gonadal hormones, during the laying period.  (+info)

(5/908) Quantitative estimates of cytoplasmic and nuclear oestrogen receptors in chick oviduct. Effect of oestrogen on receptor concentration and subcellular distribution.

(3H)Oestradiol exchange techniques were developed for the determination of specific oestrogen receptor site concentrations in the cytoplasm and nuclei of chick oviduct cells. Non-labelled, receptor-bound oestrogens were exchanged with (3H)oestradiol during a 24-h incubation at 20 degrees C, 2 h at 30 degrees C or 45 min at 3 degrees C. Both "soluble" and "insoluble" nuclear receptors were stable for at least 6 h at 30 degrees C and 3 degrees C but a proportion (approx. 30%) of cytoplasmic sites from withdrawn chickens were inactivated after 2 h at 20 degrees C. The magnum of 4-week-old immature chickens (weight = 15 mg) contained 0.20 pmol of oestrogen receptor which corresponds to 4275 receptor sites/cell, when it is assumed that all magnum cells have equal concentrations of receptor. In primarily stimulated chickens of similar age which had received 10x1 mg of oestradiol benzoate/day, the magnum weighed approximately 800 mg and contained 8.65 pmol of oestrogen receptor (4610 sites/cell). Withdrawal from primary oestrogenic stimulation for 3-6 weeks resulted in a 110 mg magnum which contained 1.20 pmol of receptor (2225 sites/cell). Oviducts from immature and withdrawn chickens had the majority (73-77%) of their oestrogen receptors sites in the receptor sites in the cytoplasmic fraction, while in primary stimulated chicken oviducts the majority (82%) of receptor sites were located in the nucleus. A single secondary injection of oestradiol, to oestrogen-withdrawn chickens, resulted in apparent translocation of cytoplasmic receptors to the nucleus during the first hour after injection. The magnitude of the decline in cytoplasmic receptor, and the concurrent increase in nuclear receptor concentration, was dose-dependent between 2 and 100 mug oestradiol/kg body weight. Larger doses of oestradiol up to 1 mg/kg did not increase the concentration of nuclear receptor above the maximum level seen at 100 mug oestradiol/kg. The initial rapid accumulation of nuclear receptor sites was followed by a period of progressive decline. The initial rapid accumulation of nuclear receptor sites was followed by a period of progressive decline. By 15 h after an injection of 100 mug oestradiol/kg, the concentration of nuclear sites had reached pre-injection levels. During the same time period, the depleted cytoplasmic receptor levels were replenished such that they reached control values by 12 h and were about 150% of the pre-injection level at 24 h.  (+info)

(6/908) Control of oocyte maturation in sexually mature Drosophila females.

In many sexually mature insects egg production and oviposition are tightly coupled to copulation. Sex-Peptide is a 36-amino-acid peptide synthesized in the accessory glands of Drosophila melanogaster males and transferred to the female during copulation. Sex-Peptide stimulates vitellogenic oocyte progression through a putative control point at about stage 9 of oogenesis. Here we show that application of the juvenile hormone analogue methoprene mimics the Sex-Peptide-mediated stimulation of vitellogenic oocyte progression in sexually mature virgin females. Apoptosis is induced by 20-hydroxyecdysone in nurse cells of stage 9 egg chambers at physiological concentrations (10(-7) M). 20-Hydroxyecdysone thus acts as an antagonist of early vitellogenic oocyte development. Simultaneous application of juvenile hormone analogue, however, protects early vitellogenic oocytes from 20-hydroxyecdysone-induced resorption. These results suggest that the balance of these hormones in the hemolymph regulates whether oocytes will progress through the control point at stage 9 or undergo apoptosis. These data are further supported by a molecular analysis of the regulation of yolk protein synthesis and uptake into the ovary by the two hormones. We conclude that juvenile hormone is a downstream component in the Sex-Peptide response cascade and acts by stimulating vitellogenic oocyte progression and inhibiting apoptosis. Since juvenile hormone analogue does not elicit increased oviposition and reduced receptivity, Sex-Peptide must have an additional, separate effect on these two postmating responses.  (+info)

(7/908) Egg laying is delayed but worm fecundity is normal in SCID mice infected with Schistosoma japonicum and S. mansoni with or without recombinant tumor necrosis factor alpha treatment.

Mice with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID mice) lack functional B and T cells. Egg laying by Schistosoma mansoni and S. japonicum was delayed in SCID mice, but in a matter of weeks worm fecundity was equivalent to that in intact mice. SCID mice formed smaller hepatic granulomas and showed less fibrosis than did intact mice. The reduction in egg-associated pathology in SCID mice correlated with marked reductions in interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5, IL-13, and gamma interferon mRNA expression in the liver. S. mansoni infections were frequently lethal for SCID mice infected for more than 9 weeks, while S. japonicum-infected SCID mice died at the same rate as infected intact mice. We were unable to affect hepatic granuloma formation or egg laying by worms in SCID mice by administration of recombinant murine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). In fact, SCID and BALB/c mice appeared to express nearly equivalent levels of TNF-alpha mRNA in their granulomatous tissues, suggesting that there is little or no deficit in TNF-alpha expression in infected SCID mice. The data indicate that TNF-alpha may be in large part derived from a non-T-cell source. Together, these findings provide little evidence that TNF-alpha alone can reconstitute early fecundity, granuloma formation, or hepatic fibrosis in schistosome-infected SCID mice.  (+info)

(8/908) Experiments on blocking and unblocking of first meiotic metaphase in eggs of the parthenogenetic stick insect Carausius morosus Br. (Phasmida, Insecta).

The eggs of the parthenogenetic stick insect Carausius morosus, which remain arrested in first meiotic metaphase until oviposition, must be activated in order to develop. The activating agent is oxygen from the air, which enters the egg cell through the micropyle. An exposure shorter than one minute is sufficient to release the blockage. In non-activated (micropyle-less) eggs the first metaphase chromsomes either degenerate or change into an interphase nucleus. This nucleus polyploidizes by endoreduplication, and then either degenerates or multiplies by amitosis. Similarly more generations of nuclei may arise resulting in a chaotic development. These nuclei survive better in the anterior region of the egg. The question of whether the cytoplasmic factors which control nuclear behaviour, also operate in eggs of C. morosus is discussed.  (+info)