Degradation of yolk in the brine shrimp Artemia. Biochemical and morphological studies on the involvement of the lysosomal system

Biol Cell. 1988;63(3):361-6.


The degradation of yolk granules during the development of Artemia was studied. The results obtained suggest that lysosomes are involved in the process. In homogenates of embryos and larvae at different stages of development, the distribution of 2 lysosomal markers, acid phosphatase and cathepsin B, was studied by sucrose isopycnic gradient centrifugation. Three peaks of enzyme activity of densities greater than 1.3 and around 1.25 and 1.18 were observed. As revealed by electron microscope analysis, the 3 peaks were found to be associated with increasingly degraded yolk structures which stained for acid phosphatase. The process can be mimicked in vitro by incubating isolated yolk granules and lysosomes. The enzyme activity levels of the 3 peaks observed during development presented an oscillatory pattern, suggesting that degradation of yolk is cyclic. Five cycles of degradation were observed during the initial 60 hr of development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Artemia / metabolism*
  • Egg Proteins / analysis
  • Egg Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gastrula / metabolism
  • Lysosomes / analysis
  • Lysosomes / metabolism*
  • Lysosomes / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron


  • Egg Proteins