Author(s): Schatten G, Hlser D
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Abstract To determine precisely the timing, duration, and sequences of the earliest events during sea urchin (Lytechinus variegatus) fertilization, the bioelectric recordings of microelectrode-impaled eggs were electronically superimposed, by video mixing, over the microscopic differential interference contrast image of the same egg at insemination. Videotape analysis, utilizing a slow-motion analyzer, demonstrates that the successful sperm triggers the bioelectric membrane potential reversal within 3.36 +/- 3.02 sec (0.72-9.76 sec range; sigma = 23 eggs) of sperm-egg attachment. This sperm, actively gyrating about its attachment site, is indistinguishable from the other, unsuccessful sperm until 12.66 +/- 2.72 sec (6.72-16.60 sec range; sigma = 15) later when the sperm tail ceases its beating and sperm incorporation ensues. The cortical granules begin to discharge, and the fertilization coat starts to elevate at the fusion site at 20.79 +/- 3.18 sec (13.62-26.08 sec range; sigma = 12) after the onset of the fertilization potential, i.e., an average of about 8 sec after the cessation of sperm-tail motility during incorporation. In most cases, the bioelectric responses starts within 7 sec of sperm adhesions; if the data are analyzed excluding the few slow cases, the fertilization potential is found to start 1.93 sec (+/- 1.28 sec) after sperm attachment. These results indicate that the first successful sperm triggers the fast block to polyspermy within 3.4 sec, perhaps as quickly as 1.9 sec, of sperm-egg adhesion, about 13 sec before the first morphological indication of fertilization, and about 21 sec before the characteristic elevation of the fertilization coat responsible for the late block to polyspermy.
This article was published in Dev Biol
and referenced in Current Synthetic and Systems Biology