The immunological properties of the surface layers of Paracentrotus lividus eggs have been studied further by using ferritin-labelled antibody to localise specific antigenic sites. In order to detect a wider spectrum of antigenic determinants, several antisera against egg and jelly substance have been employed in combination with absorption procedures using lyophilised antigen. This use of absorbed antisera was made feasible by adding ferritin label in a second antiserum layer of ferritin-anti-γ-globulin. Eggs were treated with antibody for short periods to detect antigenic sites without incurring structural changes (shown in previous paper) resulting from long antibody treatment. Unspecific ferritin uptake, found in pinocytotic vesicles and yolk granules, is considered in relation to yolk formation. The jelly layer, found to be immunologically heterogeneous, included one component interacting with antijelly γ-globulin and one with antiegg γ-globulin. The vitelline membrane proved to be rich in egg antigens (heat-stable and heat-labile). The role of this layer in specificity of fertilisation, parthenogenetic activation, and the possibility of being analogous to a basement membrane are discussed. Few antigenic sites were found on the plasma membrane with antiegg γ-globulin. This γ-globulin resulted in some specific labelling of cortical granules and its action is considered in relation to the permeability properties of the egg.

This content is only available as a PDF.