Ultralow temperature radioautography, suitable for the quantitative localization of diffusible solutes, was used to study the permeability of the nuclear envelope in the intact amphibian oocyte Sucrose-3H solutions were injected into mature oocytes, in volumes of 0 016–0 14% of that of the cell, and the subsequent movement of the solute was recorded. The resultant radioautographs show diffusion gradients in the cytoplasm and nucleus, and concentration gradients across the nuclear envelope Analysis of these gradients discloses that the nuclear envelope is as permeable as a comparable structure composed of cytoplasm, and is about 108 times more permeable than the oocyte plasma membrane The diffusion coefficient of sucrose in cytoplasm is 2 x 10-6 cm2/sec, or about one-third its diffusivity in pure water. This reduction can probably be accounted for by an effective lengthening of the diffusional path because of obstruction by cytoplasmic inclusions. The nuclear: cytoplasmic sucrose concentration ratio at diffusional equilibrium is about 3 05, or 1.6 times as great as expected from the water content of the two compartments This asymmetry is attributed to an unavailability of 36% of the cytoplasmic water as solvent Finally, sucrose entry into oocytes from a bathing solution was monitored by whole cell analysis and radioautography. These and the microinjection results are consistent with a model in which sucrose entry into the cell is entirely limited by the permeability of the plasma membrane. The results are inconsistent with cell models that hypothesize a short-circuit transport route from the extracellular compartment to the nucleus, and with models in which cytoplasmic diffusion is viewed as limiting the rate of solute permeation.

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