Abrupt decline in the rate of accumulation of total protein and yolk in postvitellogenic egg chambers of Drosophila

Alanna Ruddell, Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The accumulation of endogenously synthesized non-yolk proteins, and of exogenously derived yolk, was quantitated during oogenesis and embryogenesis of Drosophila. Rates of non-yolk protein accumulation were calculated, and were correlated with polysome content at each developmental stage. Three distinct phases of non-yolk protein accumulation were observed: 1) relatively slow accumulation, lasting to stage 9 of oogenesis; 2) very rapid accumulation between stages 10 and 12 of oogenesis, when half of the protein of the mature egg is accumulated in less than 4 h; and 3) no further protein accumulation from stage 12 of oogenesis through at least the gastrula stage of embryogenesis. During phases 1 and 2, rates of non-yolk protein accumulation correlate well with the polysome content of egg chambers. Surprisingly, during the entire phase 3 the content of polysomes remains at high levels, even though no detectable protein accumulation occurs. This finding is in agreement with the low levels of protein synthesis that have been measured during early embryogenesis, and strongly suggests that late in oogenesis the efficiency of translation suddenly drops by about 20-fold. Moreover, our results imply that polysome content cannot always be directly correlated with protein synthetic activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-195
Number of pages7
JournalWilhelm Roux's Archives of Developmental Biology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - May 1983
Externally publishedYes


  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Embryo Metabolism
  • Growth and development egg yolk
  • Ovary
  • Protein biosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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