Morphodifferentiation of Gene's organ in engorged Amblyomma sculptum Berlese, 1888 female ticks (Acari: Ixodidae)

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The Gene's organ (GO) secretes a waxy substance on eggs that reduces water loss and has antimicrobial properties. The current study evaluated morphological and histochemical aspects of GO in Amblyomma sculptum from the period of post-feeding - when ticks detach from the host - to the stage just before oviposition. In this species, GO is composed of a corpus and two pairs of glands, namely, cranial and caudal. Glandular cells are joined laterally by a system of interdigitating membranes with junctional complexes. Histochemistry showed that lipid droplets became more evident as GO developed, while glycogen gradually disappeared, and proteins were detected only near the onset of oviposition. The ultrastructural results revealed a marked distension of the cuticle filled with an amorphous material. Glandular cells showed poor endoplasmatic reticulum, many mitochondria mainly in the basal cell poles and a very developed basal labyrinth. We concluded that the development of GO in A. sculptum ticks was continuous and progressive, and it started after detachment from the host. Additionally, the ultrastructure study suggests that gland cells have an important absorption ability and a low synthetic activity, which indicates that the majority of wax precursors are derived from haemolymph.
Santos MF, Soares MAM, Lallo MA, Barros-Battesti DM, Lima-Netto S, Spadacci-Morena DD. Morphodifferentiation of Gene's organ in engorged Amblyomma sculptum Berlese, 1888 female ticks (Acari: Ixodidae). Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2018 Mar;9(3): 519-25. doi:10.1016/j.ttbdis.2018.01.004.
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