Water ordering during the cell cycle: nuclear magnetic resonance studies of the sea-urchin egg.

S. Zimmerman, A. M. Zimmerman, G. D. Fullerton, R. F. Luduena, I. L. Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Nuclear magnetic resonance was used to measure spin-lattice water proton relaxation times (T1) during the first cell cycle in sea-urchin zygotes of packed Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Following insemination there was a 90% increase in the T1 value. The increase in T1 at fertilization could be accounted for by the accumulation of extracellular fluid between the egg surface and the fertilization envelope. The T1 value then remained without change during the first cell cycle, except at metaphase when there was a significant 13% decrease. The lowered T1 values measured at metaphase were not related to a change in the water content of the packed cells, which remained fairly constant throughout the cell cycle. High hydrostatic pressure, low temperature and colchicine (agents that depolymerize mitotic apparatus microtubules) did not affect the T1 values in fertilized eggs. Treatment in vitro of a microtubule protein preparation with low temperature and colchicine resulted in an increased T1, which accompanied the depolymerization of microtubule protein. Since depolymerization of the microtubules associated with the mitotic apparatus by high pressure, colchicine or low temperature does not alter the T1 of water protons in the cell, it is proposed that the increased state of ordered water molecules at metaphase is maintained by nonmicrotubular factor(s) of the metaphase egg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-257
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of cell science
StatePublished - Nov 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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