Fluorescein-labeled rabbit serum globulin was injected into vitellogenic oocytes of the cecropia moth. Though the label spread throughout the ooplasm in less than 30 min, it was unable even after 2 h to cross the complex of intercellular bridges connecting the oocyte to its seven nurse cells. After injection into a single nurse cell, fluorescence was detected in the oocyte adjacent to the bridge complex within 3 min and had spread throughout the ooplasm in 30 min. Here also, the cell bodies of the six uninjected nurse cells remained nonfluorescent. Four of the nurse cells are not bridged directly to the oocyte but only through the apical ends of their siblings. Unidirectional movement must therefore occur in the apical cytoplasm of the nurse cells, as well as in the intercellular bridges. The nurse cells of healthy follicles had an intracellular electrical potential -40 mV relative to blood or dissecting solution, while oocytes measured -30 mV. A mV difference was also detected by direct comparison between a ground electrode in one cell and a recording electrode in the other. Three conditions were found in which the 10 mV difference was reduced or reversed in polarity. In all three cases fluorescent globulin was able in some degree to cross the bridges from the oocyte to the nurse cells.

This content is only available as a PDF.