The coelomic envelope of Xenopus laevis eggs: A quick-freeze, deep-etch analysis

Carolyn A. Larabell, Douglas E. Chandler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The extracellular matrix of Xenopus laevis oocytes was analyzed before and after meiotic maturation using quick-freeze, deep-etch, rotary-shadow electron microscopy. The perivitelline space (PS) of the meiotically immature oocyte contains a filamentous network which connects microvilli (MV) and follicle cell macrovilli to the folded oocyte surface below. The envelope overlying the PS is composed of bundles of large fibers which course between the tips of the MV. Spaces between these bundles contain smaller fibrils which secure the egg envelope to the microvillar tips. Meiotic maturation is accompanied by flattening of the oocyte plasma membrane, formation of an orderly array of MV, and elevation of the egg envelope. In the coelomic eggs, the reorganized envelope is composed of loosely bundled large fibers which course above the microvillar tips rather than between them. The spaces between these bundles contain small fibers similar to those seen in the meiotically immature oocyte. This reorganized envelope, however, will not bind sperm; further modifications must transpire during passage through the oviduct to render it sperm receptive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-135
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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