In the eggs of four species of echinoderms, Mespilia globulus, Pseudocentrotus depressus, Hemicentrotus pulcherrimus and Clypeaster japonicus, changes in the distribution of protein-bound SH groups from fertilization to the 2 cell stage have been studied cytochemically by use of a mercaptide-forming azo dye.
In the eggs of these species, the color intensity in the cytoplasm increased upon fertilization. The astral centers and spindle during mitosis were stained deeply. When the aster formation was suppressed by ether, hyaline spots appeared in the egg cytoplasm instead of well formed astral centers and these spots were stained by the SH-specific dye. Upon recovery of such eggs in pure sea water, and when cleavage ensued, such spots disappeared and two new astral centers were reorganized.
The SH-protein occurring in the centrosphere is considered to be the precursor material for the asters and spindle, and this material is apparently derived from the cytoplasm.