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I. Studies on Alkaline Phosphatase Activity in Developing Sea Urchin Embryos. II. Studies on the Activation of Protein Biosynthesis in Sea Urchin Eggs at Fertilization


Denny, Paul Claire (1966) I. Studies on Alkaline Phosphatase Activity in Developing Sea Urchin Embryos. II. Studies on the Activation of Protein Biosynthesis in Sea Urchin Eggs at Fertilization. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/J3KZ-P058.


I. Alkaline phosphatase activity in the developing sea urchin Lytechinus pictus has been investigated with respect to intensity at various stages, ionic requirements and intracellular localization. The activity per embryo remains the same in the unfertilized egg, fertilized egg and cleavage stages. At a time just prior to gastrulation (about 10 hours after fertilization) the activity per embryo begins to rise and increases after 300 times over the activity in the cleavage stages during the next 60 hours.

The optimum ionic strength for enzymatic activity shows a wide peak at 0.6 to 1.0. Calcium and magnesium show an additional optimum at a concentration in the range of 0.02 to 0.07 molar. EDTA at concentrations of 0.0001 molar and higher shows a definite inhibition of activity.

The intracellular localization of alkaline phosphatase in homogenates of 72-hour embryos has been studied employing the differential centrifugation method. The major portion of the total activity in these homogenates was found in mitochondrial and microsomal fractions with less than 5% in the nuclear fraction and less than 2% in the final supernatant. The activity could be released from all fractions by treatment with sodium deoxycholate.

II. The activation of protein biosynthesis at fertilization in eggs of the sea urchins Lytechinus pictus and Strongylocentrotus purpuratus has been studied in both intact eggs and cell-free homogenates. It is shown that homogenates from both unfertilized and fertilized eggs are dependent on potassium and magnesium ions for optimum amino acid incorporation activity and in the case of the latter the concentration range is quite narrow. Though the optimum magnesium concentrations appear to differ slightly in homogenates of unfertilized and fertilized eggs, in no case was it observed that unfertilized egg homogenates were stimulated to incorporate at a level comparable to that of the fertilized eggs.

An activation of amino acid incorporation into protein has also been shown to occur in parthenogenetically activated non-nucleate sea urchin egg fragments or homogenates thereof. This activation resembles that in the fertilized whole egg or fragment both in amount and pattern of activation. Furthermore, it is shown that polyribosomes form in these non-nucleate fragments upon artificial activation. These findings are discussed along with possible mechanisms for activation of the system at fertilization.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Developmental Biology and Plant Physiology)
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Developmental Biology
Minor Option:Biology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Tyler, Albert
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:11 December 1964
Funding AgencyGrant Number
United States Public Health ServiceUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:09152015-083120183
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9152
Deposited On:15 Sep 2015 17:06
Last Modified:28 Feb 2024 00:41

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