In the early stages of development (0 to 48 hr after organogenesis) the posterior silk gland cells of the silkworm, Bombyx mori, have characteristics of undifferentiated cells, that is, there are a number of free ribosomes in the cytoplasm and development of rough endoplasmic reticulum (rER) and Golgi bodies is very poor. Mitotic cells are frequently found. At ∼ 60 hr when differentiation of the silk gland to the posterior, middle, and anterior divisions is completed, mitotic cells were no longer observable and the posterior silk gland is now composed of two rows of cells regularly packed forming a tubular structure. Differentiation of the cytoplasm is, however, not yet apparent and only a slight proliferation of rER can be observed. At 84 to 144 hr, proliferation of rER and transformation of rER from lamellar to vesico-tubular configuration are observed and Golgi vacuoles begin to enlarge. Just before hatching, the ultrastructures of cells are very similar to those of the later stage of the fifth instar when fibroin is synthesized extensively; the cytoplasm is filled with vesico-tubular rER, Golgi bodies, free secretory granules of fibroin, and mitochondria. Fibroin is probably synthesized, transported, and secreted in a manner similar to that in the fifth instar larvae. © 1976.
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