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Zoolog Sci. 2006 Jan;23(1):41-7.

The magnum-isthmus junction of the fowl oviduct participates in the formation of the avian-type shell membrane.

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Department of Animal Resource Production, United Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Gifu University, Gifu 501-1193, Japan.


Avian eggs possess a shell membrane in the shape of an asymmetrical ellipsoid and with a limiting membrane that is a smooth layer of homogeneous, dense materials. We describe the role of the magnum-isthmus junction (MIJ) of the oviduct in the formation of the avian-type shell membrane in the domestic fowl Gallus domesticus. The narrow width of the lumen at the MIJ indirectly participates in the determination of the asymmetrical ellipsoid shape of eggs that are encased by the egg-white layer and subsequently by the peri-albumen layer (PL) and the shell membrane. The PL reacts with Alcian blue and exists between the egg white and the limiting membrane. It is added to the ovulating egg at the MIJ and covers the outermost surface of the egg-white layer. The function of the PL is to provide a smooth surface by covering the irregular surface of the egg-white layer. The materials of the PL consist of an Alcian blue-positive polysaccharide (or glycoprotein) of 240 kDa and five proteins of 135, 116, 72, 49, and 46 kDa. The isolated materials have an affinity to bind with the egg-white mass. An antiserum against quail PL materials stains the domestic fowl PL and secretory cells of the luminal epithelium at the MIJ, and cross-reacts with the molecules of 240, 135, and 116 kDa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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