Insect cuticle, an in vivo model of protein trafficking

György Csikós, Kinga Molnár, Noémi H. Borhegyi, Gábor Cs Talián, Miklós Sass

Research output: Article

36 Citations (Scopus)


In the course of this study more than 20 proteins have been isolated from the larval cuticle of Manduca sexta. Synthesis, secretion, transport and accumulation of four particular proteins, representative members of four characteristic groups, were followed during metamorphosis by immunoblot and immuncytochemical methods and are described in detail in this paper. We established that only some of the proteins of the soft cuticle of Lepidopteran larvae are synthesized in epidermal cells at the beginning of the larval stages and are digested during the moulting period (MsCP29). Other proteins (MsCP30/11) are secreted into the cuticle by the epidermal cells in different forms during various developmental stages. Some proteins are secreted apically during the feeding period, but before ecdysis they are then taken up by epidermal cells and transported in a basolateral direction back into the hemolymph and saved in an immunologically intact form by the fat body cells (MsCP12.3). Some cuticle proteins have a non-epidermal origin. They are transported from the hemolymph into the cuticle. Before and during ecdysis these molecules reappear in the hemolymph and are detectable again in the pupal cuticle (MsCP78). Our data prove that the cuticle is not a non-living part of the insect body: it is not only an inert, protective armor, but maintains a continuous and dynamic metabolic connection with the other organs of the organism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2113-2124
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - aug. 9 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Csikós, G., Molnár, K., Borhegyi, N. H., Talián, G. C., & Sass, M. (1999). Insect cuticle, an in vivo model of protein trafficking. Journal of cell science, 112(13), 2113-2124.