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Dev Biol. 1983 Aug;98(2):446-54.

Changes in intracellular acidic compartments in sea urchin eggs after activation.

Abstract

Acridine orange (AO) was used as a vital probe for looking at acidic intracellular compartments in sea urchin eggs. This weak base is concentrated by acidic compartments, shifting its fluorescence from green to red due to the formation of dye aggregates. Fertilization or parthenogenetic activation with ionophore A23187 resulted in the appearance of orange fluorescent granules of sizes ranging from 1 to 2 microns at the cortical region of the egg. In one species of sea urchin (Lytechinus pictus), these granules migrate inward before cell division and associate with the forming mitotic apparatus. Treatments that discharge the transmembrane pH gradient (NH4Cl, nigericin, monensin, and acidic external pH) eliminate the orange fluorescence, indicating they are acidic compartments. Spectrofluorimetric measurements showed a decrease in monomer fluorescence accompanying egg activation which is reversible by similar treatments as seen with the fluorescence microscopic observations. Stratified eggs which were subsequently fertilized had acidic granules concentrated at the centripetal pole. This allowed the electron microscopic identification of the granules and showed they are present in the unfertilized egg, although not able to concentrate the AO. Activation of eggs in the absence of Na+ prevented the cytoplasmic alkalinization and also inhibited the appearance of acidic granules. The results indicate that the internal pH rises after egg activation triggers the acidification of these granules. Their possible functions, as in intracellular pH regulation, are discussed.

PMID:
6409692
DOI:
10.1016/0012-1606(83)90374-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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