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Cell Tissue Res. 1991 Aug;265(2):317-28.

An electron-microscope and freeze-fracture study of the egg cortex of Brachydanio rerio.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Nelson Biology Laboratories, Piscataway, NJ 08855-1059.


We have examined the cortex of the teleost (Brachydanio rerio) egg before and during exocytosis of cortical granules by scanning, transmission, and freeze-fracture electron microscopy. In the unactivated egg, the P-face of the plasma membrane exhibits a random distribution of intramembranous particles, showing a density of 959/micron2 and an average diameter of 8 nm. Particles over P- and E-faces of the membranes of cortical granules are substantially larger and display a significantly lower density. An anastomosing cortical endoplasmic reticulum forms close associations with both the plasma membrane of the egg and the membranes of cortical granules. Exocytosis begins with cortical granules pushing up beneath the plasma membrane to form dome-shaped swellings, coupled with an apparent clearing of particles from the site of contact between the apposed membranes. A depression in the particle-free plasma membrane appears to mark sites of fusion and pore formation between cortical granules and plasma membranes. Profiles of exocytotic vesicles undergo a predictable sequence of morphological change, but maintain their identity in the egg surface during this transformation. Coated vesicles form at sites of cortical granule breakdown. Differences in particle density between cortical granules and egg plasma membranes persist during transformation of the exocytotic profiles. This suggests that constituents of the 2 membrane domains remain segregated and do not intermix rapidly, lending support to the view that the process of membrane retrieval is selective (i.e., cortical granule membrane is removed).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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