Transport of pinocytic vesicles in the eye of a snail, Helix aspersa

Research paper by Jean L. Brandenburger, Richard M. Eakin

Indexed on: 01 Jun '83Published on: 01 Jun '83Published in: Cell and Tissue Research


The heads of small adult snails, Helix aspersa, were injected with horseradish peroxidase (HRP) for one to five hours before extirpating the eyes and preparing them cytochemically for electron microscopy. There was internalization of tracer by pinocytic vesicles (pinosomes) at the bases of types-I and -II sensory cells, ganglion cells and, in lesser amounts, by pigmented supportive cells. Vesicles and vacuoles filled with HRP were transported in two directions: lensward as far distad as the ends of the cells (retrograde) and brainward down the optic nerve (anterograde). We believe that the numerous reacted vacuoles in the cell somata are formed by fusion of vesicles, tubules and C-shaped organelles filled with tracer; we present evidence that they become secondary lysosomes. Sensory cell type II possesses more HRP-reacted vacuoles distally than the other retinal cells. Other vesicles are also described. There was no uptake of tracer by the distal ends of the retinal cells following injection of HRP into the hemolymph. The swelling of the optic nerve, immediately behind the eye, contains more HRP-filled pinosomes and vacuoles than does the nerve below the dilatation. The significance of endocytosis and transport of pinosomes within the eye and down the optic nerve is discussed.