Stepwise transformation of the vitelline envelope of Xenopus eggs at activation: A quick-freeze, deep-etch analysis

Carolyn A. Larabell, Douglas E. Chandler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

The extracellular matrix of Xenopus laevis eggs was analyzed at fixed intervals after prick-activation using quick-freeze, deep-etch, rotary-shadow electron microscopy. This technique revealed that the modifications of the matrix seen at fertilization do not occur simultaneously, but that instead there is an orderly progression of alterations at activation. The first modification, conversion of the vitelline envelope (VE) to the altered vitelline envelope (VE*), occurs within 2 to 3 min after activation. Intermediate stages of the VE to VE* transformation can be visualized traveling around the egg in a wave-like fashion. Upon completion of the wave, the loosely woven outer surface of the VE, believed to be the prefertilization layer, remains unaltered. Subsequent formation of the fertilization (F) layer at this VE-jelly interface occurs between 4 and 8 min postactivation. Finally, between 10 and 15 min postactivation, the smooth (S) layer forms on the tips of the microvilli and surrounds the entire egg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-268
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Volume139
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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