Lipid droplets are considered one of the most important energy sources in lepidopteran eggs during late embryogenesis, but the process of their incorporation into the embryo is as yet unknown. The present study focused on the process of transition of lipid droplets from the extraembryonic yolk to the embryo of the silkworm Bombyx mori, using morphological and biochemical approaches. The morphological study revealed that the incorporation of lipid droplets from the extraembryonic yolk into the embryo occurs at three points and in three different ways during the development of the embryo. Some lipid droplets were translocated directly from the extraembryonic yolk to the embryo before the blastokinesis stage. However, the majority of lipid droplets together with the other components of the extraembryonic yolk were incorporated in the embryo via both morphogenetic inclusion during dorsal closure and ingestion of the extraembyonic yolk by the developing caterpillar prior to hatching. Similar results were obtained from the biochemical study. Thus, we propose that there are three steps in the incorporation of lipid droplets from the extraembryonic yolk into the embryo. In addition, morphological and biochemical data concerning the total amount of lipid droplets in the egg suggested that lipid droplets were mainly consumed during late embryogenesis, seeming to synchronize with tracheal development.
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