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

Ultrastructural localization of calcium in unfertilized sea-urchin eggs.

The pyroantimonate technique was employed to identify the binding sites for calcium in unfertilized Arbacia punctulata and Strongylocentrotus purpuratus eggs. Since antimony is non-specific and binds with a variety of cations, the indentification of calcium was established by specific chelation with ethyleneglycol tetra-acetic acid (EGTA) and X-ray microprobe analysis. Antimony deposits were observed on the egg's membranes, i.e. plasma, cortical (secretory) granule, pigment granule, smooth-surfaced vesicle, and yolk platelet. Deposits were also observed in the mitochondria, rod-containing vesicles, and the vitelline layer. Two types of yolk platelets were observed: a more numerous electron-opaque platelet which had precipitate along its limiting membrane as well as within the stored-matrix substance, and a less-frequently seen platelet with lower electron opacity which contained precipitate only along its limiting membrane. Deposits were reduced at all sites following exposure of eggs to EGTA either prior to or after osmium-antimonate fixation. Initial fixation in glutaraldehyde followed by postfixation in osmium-antimonate solutions provided better preservation of structure but less precipitation than direct fixation in osmium-antimonate. The organelle sites of calcium binding identified within unfertilized sea-urchin eggs may participate in stimulus-secretion coupling (exocytosis of the cortical granules) and the activation of embryogenesis at fertilization.[1]


  1. Ultrastructural localization of calcium in unfertilized sea-urchin eggs. Cardasis, C.A., Schuel, H., Herman, L. J. Cell. Sci. (1978) [Pubmed]
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