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J Electron Microsc Tech. 1990 Nov;16(3):175-201.

Ultrastructural aspects of oogenesis and oocyte growth in fish and amphibians.

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Whitney Laboratory, University of Florida, St. Augustine 32086.


Oogenesis, the early events of primary oocyte growth (meiotic arrest, synapsis, ribosomal gene duplication), and folliculogenesis can be seen to particular advantage in the germinal ridge of the syngnathan ovary. After budding off the germinal ridge (a compartment of the luminal epithelium), nascent follicles then enter into a linear array of developing follicles within which temporal and stage-specific events can be correlated with spatial distribution. Prominent features of the later phase of primary oocyte growth include intense transcriptional activity and the formation and subsequent dispersal of the Balbiani vitelline body (mitochondrial cloud) concomitant with an increase in cytoplasmic organelles and volume. Further oocyte growth is characterized by a period of cortical alveolus (in teleosts) or cortical granule (in anurans) formation, in which Golgi elements play a predominant role, and finally vitellogenesis. The latter process, which is responsible for the preponderance of oocyte growth, includes the hepatic synthesis and secretion of vitellogenin (VTG), the uptake of VTG from the bloodstream into the oocyte by receptor-mediated endocytosis, and the transport of VTG via endosomes and multivesicular bodies to forming yolk platelets. In the process, VTG is proteolytically cleaved into the yolk proteins, which assume either a monoclinic (in cyclostomes) or orthorhombic (in teleosts and amphibians) crystalline array. Other structures associated with the growing oocyte are also briefly discussed, including nuage, the vitelline envelope, intercellular junctions between the oocyte and overlying follicle cells, pigment, intramitochondrial crystals in ranidae, and annulate lamellae.

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