sea urchin eggs
Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Redistribution of alpha-actinin during fertilization was investigated by means of the microinjection of fluorescently labeled egg alpha-actinin in the sea urchin, Hemicentrotus pulcherrimus. Upon fertilization, labeled alpha-actinin accumulated locally around the sperm binding site, where the fertilization cone formed soon afterwards. The accumulation propagated all over the cortex within 10 sec after a latent period of 10-20 sec. When an egg in Na-free seawater was injected with both alpha-actinin and calcium buffer (intracellular free Ca2+ concentration = 9 μM), the accumulation of alpha-actinin was similar to that in normal seawater, which suggests that the accumulation did not depend on the increase in intracellular pH but only on the increase in the intracellular free Ca2+ concentration. In immature oocytes the accumulation was detected in the cortical region, including the huge protruding cytoplasm where the sperm entered. When labeled egg alpha-actinin was injected into starfish (Asterias amurensis) oocytes followed by insemination, it accumulated in the cortical layer in a manner similar to the case of sea urchin, except that the accumulation in fertilization cones of maturing oocytcs or reception cones of immature oocytes appeared ringlike and rodlike, respectively. Moreover, just after the arrival of the meiotic apparatus, egg alpha-actinin accumulated in the cortical region, where the formation of the polar body was expected. This suggests that the meiotic apparatus somehow induced the differentiation of the cortex so as to form a polar body. It is concluded that the cortical region where alpha-actinin accumulated coincided with the microfilament-rich region. This suggests that alpha-actinin plays a role in forming the cortical meshwork of actin filaments.
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