The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 51: 57 - 66 (2007)

Vol 51, Issue 1

Stage-specific regulation of programmed cell death during oogenesis of the medfly Ceratitis capitata (Diptera, Tephritidae)

Original Article | Published: 15 December 2006

Athanassios D. Velentzas, Ioannis P. Nezis, Dimitrios J. Stravopodis, Issidora S. Papassideri* and Lukas H. Margaritis

Faculty of Biology, Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, University of Athens, Athens, Greece


In the present study, we describe novel features of programmed cell death in developing egg chambers occurring during mid- and late-oogenesis of the medfly Ceratitis capitata. During mid-oogenesis, the spontaneously degenerated egg chambers exhibit typical characteristics of apoptotic cell death. Their nurse cells contain fragmented DNA and fragmented actin, as revealed by TUNEL assay and immunolabelling, respectively. In vitro caspase activity assays and immunostaining procedures demonstrated that the atretic egg chambers acquired high levels of caspase activity. Distinct features of autophagic cell death were also observed during C. capitata mid-oogenesis, as revealed by the monodansylcadaverine staining approach and ultrastructural examination performed by transmission electron microscopy. Additionally, atretic egg chambers exhibit an upregulation of lysosomal proteases, as demonstrated by a procathepsin L immunolabelling procedure. At the late stages of C. capitata oogenesis, apoptosis and autophagy coexist, manifesting cell death features that are similar to the ones mentioned above, being also chaperoned by the involvement of an altered cytochrome c conformational display. We propose that apoptosis and autophagy operate synergistically during C. capitata oogenesis for a more efficient elimination of the degenerated nurse cells and abnormal egg chambers.


apoptosis, autophagy, Ceratitis capitata, nurse cell, programmed cell death

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