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The regulation of yolk storage in oocytes and subsequent utilization in embryos is critical for embryogenesis. In sea urchins, the major yolk protein is made in the intestines, transported to the ovaries and accumulated in developing oocytes within membrane-bound vesicles comprising approximately 10% of the mass of an egg. Here, a non-yolk protein that(More)
Cortical granule exocytosis is important for the block to polyspermy at fertilization in the eggs of most vertebrates and many invertebrates. Cortical granules are poised at the cell surface and exocytose in response to sperm stimulation. Following exocytosis, the cortical granule contents modify the extracellular environment of the egg, the major result of(More)
Trypsin-like activity is secreted from eggs of many species at fertilization, and this activity is believed to be critical for the block to polyspermy. Here we show that a cortical granule serine protease of sea urchins is the major and perhaps only protease family member important for fertilization. Zymography assays suggest that the cortical granules(More)
Cortical granules are secretory vesicles formed in the eggs of most animals and are essential for the prevention of polyspermy in these organisms. We have studied the biogenesis of cortical granules in sea urchin oocytes by identifying cDNA clones that encode proteins targeted selectively to the cortical granules. These cDNA clones were identified by an(More)
Cortical granules are secretory vesicles poised at the cortex of an egg that, upon stimulation by sperm contact at fertilization, secrete their contents. These contents modify the extracellular environment and block additional sperm from reaching the egg. The role of cortical granules in blocking polyspermy is conserved throughout much of phylogeny. In the(More)
An egg-that took weeks to months to make in the adult-can be extraordinarily transformed within minutes during its fertilization. This review will focus on the molecular biology of the specialized secretory vesicles of fertilization, the cortical granules. We will discuss their role in the fertilization process, their contents, how they are made, and the(More)
At fertilization in most animals, cortical granules of the egg or oocyte secrete their contents, whose function it is to modify the extracellular matrix. This modified matrix then participates in the block to polyspermy and protection for early embryonic development. In the sea urchin, contents of the cortical granules are secreted within 30 sec of(More)
Egg activation at fertilization in the sea urchin results in the exocytosis of approximately 15,000 cortical granules that are docked at the plasma membrane. Previously, we reported that several integral membrane proteins modeled in the SNARE hypothesis, synaptotagmin, VAMP, and syntaxin, in addition to a small GTPase of the ras superfamily, rab3, were(More)
Sea urchins are members of a limited group of animals in which meiotic maturation of oocytes is completed prior to fertilization. This is different from oocytes of most animals such as mammals and amphibians in which fertilization reactivates an arrested meiotic cycle. Using a recently developed technique for in vitro maturation of sea urchin oocytes, we(More)
Fertilization is the union of a single sperm and an egg, an event that results in a diploid embryo. Animals use many mechanisms to achieve this ratio; the most prevalent involves physically blocking the fusion of subsequent sperm. Selective pressures to maintain monospermy have resulted in an elaboration of diverse egg and sperm structures. The processes(More)