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Cell Tissue Res. 1980;205(1):67-76.

Electron microscopic study of the cortical reaction in eggs of the starfish (Patria miniata).


The egg coats of a starfish (Patiria miniata) are examined before, during, and after the cortical reaction by scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The unfertilized egg is closely invested by a vitelline coat about 300 micron thick, and cortical granules are scattered in the peripheral cytoplasm. After insemination, as the cortical granules undergo exocytosis, the cortical reaction sweeps over the egg surface. Much of the material ejected from the cortical granules adheres to the inner surface of the vitelline coat as a dense layer about 40 micron thick and as scattered spheres and hemispheres, each about 1 micron in diameter. Together, the vitelline coat and the adherent cortical granule material form the fertilization envelope, which becomes separated from the plasma membrane of the egg by a perivitelline space. The perivitelline space contains some flocculent material, which is too diffuse and discontinuous to be considered a hyaline layer. Possible functions of the starfish egg coats are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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