Calcium- and polyphosphate-containing acidocalcisomes in chicken egg yolk.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Poly P (inorganic polyphosphate) is a polymer formed by P(i) residues linked by high-energy phosphoanhydride bonds. The presence of poly P in bacteria, fungi, algae and protists has been widely recognized, but the distribution of poly P in more complex eukaryotes has been poorly studied. Poly P accumulates, together with calcium, in acidic vesicles or acidocalcisomes in a number of organisms and possesses a diverse array of functions, including roles in stress response, blood clotting, inflammation, calcification, cell proliferation and apoptosis. RESULTS: We report here that a considerable amount of phosphorus in the yolk of chicken eggs is in the form of poly P. DAPI (4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) staining showed that poly P is localized mainly in electron-dense vesicles located inside larger vacuoles (compound organelles) that are randomly distributed in the yolk. These internal vesicles were shown to contain calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, chlorine, iron and zinc, as detected by X-ray microanalysis and elemental mapping. These vesicles stain with the acidophilic dye Acridine Orange. The presence of poly P in organellar fractions of the egg yolk was evident in agarose gels stained with Toluidine Blue and DAPI. Of the total phosphate (Pi) of yolk organelles, 16% is present in the form of poly P. Total poly P content was not altered during the first 4 days of embryogenesis, but poly P chain length decreased after 1 day of development. CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present study identify a novel organelle in chicken egg yolk comprising acidic vesicles with a morphology, physiology and composition similar to those of acidocalcisomes, within larger acidic vacuoles. The elemental composition of these acidocalcisomes is proportionally similar to the elemental composition of the yolk, suggesting that most of these elements are located in these organelles, which might be an important storage compartment in eggs.
Ramos, IB; Miranda, K; Ulrich, P; Ingram, P; LeFurgey, A; Machado, EA; de Souza, W; Docampo, R
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