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      Ultrastructural analysis of the initiation and development of cytasters in sea-urchin eggs.

      Journal of Cell Science

      ultrastructure, Animals, Centrioles, Cytoplasm, Female, Microscopy, Electron, Ovum, Parthenogenesis, Prophase, Sea Urchins

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          Two approaches were used to study the origin and overall development of cytasters in relation to the emergence and maturation of new centrioles in sea-urchin eggs. A continuous hypertonic treatment was used to gather information on cytoplasmic areas of potential cytaster formation and the subsequent development of these cytastral areas. A two-step parthenogenetic stimulation procedure was used to analyse various cytastral changes during and after mitosis. Potential cytastral areas are associated with extensive Golgi complexes and astral formation occurs only about newly induced centrioles. The construction of a single aster involves a large redistribution of local cytoplasmic structures, concentrating some components, excluding others and orienting more and more microtubules in an increasingly focussed arrangement. These events are correlated with an extensive accumulation of astral endoplasmic reticulum, an increase in the size of the astral area, and a gradual acquisition of a more typical radial configuration. The astral shape becomes more pronounced during mitosis, after which the cytasters regress, but retain the mature centrioles. The data reveal that cytaster formation is initiated after the activation and appearance of centriolar precursor bodies, and that both centrioles and associated cytasters are complementary structures, which develop in unison. The results suggest that developing centrioles, from the moment of their emergence, control and direct the events of cytastral formation.

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