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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Sequential biochemical and morphological events during assembly of the fertilization membrane of the sea urchin.

The fertilization membrane of Strongylocentrotus purpuratus undergoes changes in morphology, solubility, and permeability during the process of hardening. As the fertilization membrane elevates from the egg surface, it retains casts of the tips of the microvillous processes of the plasma membrane. The dome-shaped microvillar casts become angular at the same time that the fertilization membrane becomes resistant to solubilization in mercaptan solutions. 2-4 min after this morphological and chemical transition, the fertilization membrane becomes impermeable to the lectin conconavalin A, as monitored by binding of 125I- or fluorescein-labeled concanavalin A. Glycine ethyl ester inhibits the changes in morphology, solubility, and permeability, whereas sodium sulfite inhibits only the permeability block and resistance to solubilization by mercaptans. Parthenogenetic activation with the divalent ionophore, A23187, elicits fertilization membrane elevation more rapidly than does activation by fertilization; however, the morphological and permeability changes characteristic of hardening proceed more slowly. Elevation and hardening of the fertilization membrane thus appear to be discrete, multiple-step assembly processes that occur in fixed sequence, with kinetics that are affected by the mechanism of cortical granule exocytosis.[1]


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