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Mol Reprod Dev. 1996 Apr;43(4):536-47.

The cortical actin cytoskeleton of unactivated zebrafish eggs: spatial organization and distribution of filamentous actin, nonfilamentous actin, and myosin-II.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Nelson Biological Laboratory, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08855-1059, USA.


Actin and nonmuscle myosin heavy chain (myosin-II) have been identified and localized in the cortex of unfertilized zebrafish eggs using techniques of SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, immunoblotting, and fluorescence microscopy. Whole egg mounts, egg fragments, cryosections, and cortical membrane patches probed with rhodamine phalloidin, fluorescent DNase-I, or anti-actin antibody showed the cortical cytoskeleton to contain two domains of actin: filamentous and nonfilamentous. Filamentous actin was restricted to microplicae and the cytoplasmic face of the plasma membrane where it was organized as an extensive meshwork of interconnecting filaments. The cortical cytoplasm deep to the plasma membrane contained cortical granules and sequestered actin in nonfilamentous form. The cytoplasmic surface (membrane?) of cortical granules displayed an enrichment of nonfilamentous actin. An antibody against human platelet myosin was used to detect myosin-II in whole mounts and egg fragments. Myosin-II colocalized with both filamentous and nonfilamentous actin domains of the cortical cytoskeleton. It was not determined if egg myosin was organized into filaments. Similar to nonfilamentous actin, myosin-II appeared to be concentrated over the surface of cortical granules where staining was in the form of patches and punctate foci. The identification of organized and interconnected domains of filamentous actin, nonfilamentous actin, and myosin-II provides insight into possible functions of these proteins before and after fertilization.

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