The ultrastructure of the dorsal yolk-free cytoplasm and the immediately surrounding cytoplasm in the symmetrized egg of Xenopus laevis

J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1979 Jun;51:155-64.


Cytoplasmic segregation and subsequent dorsad displacement of the segregated cytoplasm lead to symmetrization of the egg of Xenopus laevis. At 60 min post-fertilization (p.f.) the 'dorsal yolk-free cytoplasm' (DYFC) is located in the dorso-animal part of the egg. Its ultrastructure and that of the immediately surrounding cytoplasm have been studied with transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) within the DYFC consists of single or paired cisternae and many small vesicles, both with moderately dense contents. Numerous particles, presumably ribosomes and glycogen, are present together with many mitochondria and some Golgi structures. The fraction of total yolk-free area occupied by mitochondria in the DYFC is about three times that in the adjacent cytoplasm. The number of cytoplasmic vesicles per unit area of cytoplasm is far larger in the DYFC than in the surrounding area. The morphological characteristics of the DYFC at 60 min p.f. suggest that it represents a region of high metabolic activity. Since it is located in the dorso-animal quadrant of the uncleaved egg, it may be partly responsible for a difference in metabolism between the dorsal and the ventral side of the egg, and hence may play an essential role in the determination of dorso-ventrality.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoplasm / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Golgi Apparatus / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Vacuoles / ultrastructure
  • Xenopus / embryology*
  • Zygote / ultrastructure*