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Sperm head de condensation by a high molecular weight fraction of sea urchin lytechinus variegatus egg homogenate



Sperm head de condensation by a high molecular weight fraction of sea urchin lytechinus variegatus egg homogenate



Journal of Experimental Zoology 212(2): 159-168



Sperm nucleus decondensing activity (NDA) of eggs was investigated using the gametes of the sea urchin, L. variegatus. To assay for NDA, isolated sperm heads were exposed to homogenate from mature unfertilized ova and then examined with phase-contrast optics. NDA is retained by dialysis and requires Ca2+ at the time of homogenization and at the time of assay. Other divalent cations (Mg2+, Sr2+, Ba2+, Mn2+) can substitute for Ca2+, but are much less effective. NDA is stable to cold (-20.degree. C, -76.degree. C), but not to heat (56.degree. C). The pH activity optimum is in the range 7-9. NDA is present in the supernatant after centrifugation at 150,000 g for 105 min. It elutes shortly following the void volume on a Sephacryl S-200 column, with an approximate MW of 100,000 daltons.

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