NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Activation of maternal centrosomes in unfertilized sea urchin eggsCentrosomes are undetectable in unfertilized sea urchin eggs, and normally the sperm introduces the cell's microtubule-organizing center (MTOC) at fertilization. However, artificial activation or parthenogenesis triggers microtubule assembly in the unfertilized egg, and this study explores the reappearance and behavior of the maternal centrosome. During activation with A23187 or ammonia, microtubules appear first at the cortex; centrosomal antigen is detected diffusely throughout the entire cytoplasm. Later, the centrosome becomes more distinct and organizes a radial microtubule shell, and eventually a compact centrosome at the egg center organizes a monaster. In these activated eggs, centrosomes undergo cycles of compaction and decompaction in synchrony with the chromatin, which also undergoes cycles of condensation and decondensation. Parthenogenetic activation with heavy water (50% D2O) or the microtubule-stabilizing drug taxol (10 microM) induces numerous centrosomal foci in the unfertilized sea urchin egg. Within 15 min after incubation in D2O, numerous fine centrosomal foci are detected, and they organize a connected network of numerous asters which fill the entire egg. Taxol induces over 100 centrosomal foci by 15 min after treatment, which organize a corresponding number of asters. The centrosomal material in either D2O- or taxol-treated eggs aggregates with time to form fewer but denser foci, resulting in fewer and larger asters. Fertilization of eggs pretreated with either D2O or taxol shows that the paternal centrosome is dominant over the maternal centrosome. The centrosomal material gradually becomes associated with the enlarged sperm aster. These experiments demonstrate that maternal centrosomal material is present in the unfertilized egg, likely as dispersed undetectable material, which can be activated without paternal contributions. At fertilization, paternal centrosomes become dominant over the maternal centrosomal material.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Schatten, H.
(University of Wisconsin Madison 53706)
Walter, M.
Biessmann, H.
Schatten, G.
Date Acquired
August 22, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: Cell motility and the cytoskeleton
Volume: 23
Issue: 1
ISSN: 0886-1544
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
Non-NASA Center
NASA Discipline Developmental Biology

Available Downloads

There are no available downloads for this record.
No Preview Available