Virus particles in male accessory reproductive glands of tsetse, Glossina morsitans morsitans (Diptera: Glossinidae) and associated tissue changes
The present study was undertaken to determine the occurrence of virus particles in male accessory reproductive glands and to describe the changes in the affected tissues. Using electron microscopy techniques, it was possible to identify rod-shaped virus-like particles in accessory reproductive glands of male tsetse, Glossina morsitans morsitans Westwood. The viruses occurred intracellularly within the epithelial cells and in the lumen of the glands. Cell degeneration characterized by abundant clear vacuoles, membrane-bound vesicles, disorganization and elimination of cell organelles typified the infection. The inference, therefore, is that virus infection may be primarily responsible for the necrotic changes identified in the gland cells. It is suggested that the lesions caused in the gland epithelium by the infection would disturb the glandular cells and disrupt synthesis of the secretion. This may eventually destroy the male accessory reproductive glands leading to inability of the male flies to form spermatophores for transferring spermatozoa to the female tsetse. Lack of sperm transfer would consequently result in no egg fertilization.