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J Cell Sci 1979 Jun 01;37:47-58.
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An ultrastructural study of the effects of wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) on cell cortex organization during the first cleavage of Xenopus laevis eggs. I. Inhibition of furrow formation.

Geuskens M , Tencer R .

Xenopus laevis fertilized eggs have been treated with wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) before the onset of the first cleavage, at the stripe stage and during groove deepening. The ultrastructure of the animal cortex of the arrested embryos has been compared with that of the same region of control embryos at different stages of first furrow formation and of cytochalasin B-treated embryos. The outer side of the plasma membrane of WGA-treated embryos is covered with a coat which is different from the diffuse material observed in either control or cytochalasin B-treated embryos and which is distributed in patches in the groove region. Narrow indentations of the plasma membrane in the cortex of WGA-treated eggs have been observed, particularly in the blocked or regressed groove. In WGA-treated eggs, a few bundles of microfilaments are located under the plasma membrane at the animal pole, but they are never arrayed in a continuous layer as in the control eggs. In the latter, many microtubules are located in close proximity to the microfilament layer at the beginning of cleavage, but they are only occasionally observed in the same region of WGA-treated eggs. It is concluded that the binding of WGA molecules to their receptors on the surface of the Xenopus zygote interferes with the alignment of microfilaments in the furrow region and provokes the disorganization of the aligned microfilaments once the cleavage has begun. Internalization of portions of the nascent membrane in the groove could play an important part in the arrest of cleavage.

PubMed ID: 573274
Article link: J Cell Sci

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Antibodies: Wheat Germ Agglutinin