The folded cortex of the growing oocyte of the frog extends as microvilli into the substance of the developing vitelline membrane and, internal to the folds, possesses a layer of cortical granules. Free ribosomes, smooth-walled vesicles, coated vesicles, tubules, and electron-opaque granules are abundant in the peripheral zone of the cortex. Mitochondria, lipochondria, pigment granules, and electron-opaque granules are conspicuous between cortical granules and in the underlying endoplasm. Yolk platelets are restricted to the endoplasm. Cortical granules contain neutral and acid mucopolysaccharides, and possibly protein. In the mature oocyte, microvilli are withdrawn and the surface folds eliminated. Cortical granules now lie close to the plasma membrane, sometimes contacting it. Fertilization or pricking causes a wave of breakdown of cortical granules lasting 1–1½ min. Breakdown begins immediately after pricking but not until about 10–15 min after insemination, because the fertilizing sperm takes that long to penetrate the jelly and vitelline membrane. Cortical granules erupt through the surface and discharge their contents into the perivitelline space. Cortical craters left at sites of eruption soon disappear, and pseudopodial protrusions retract. By 30 min after insemination, the surface of the egg is relatively smooth.

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