Centrifuged, unfertilized eggs of the sea urchin, Arbacia punctulata, have been studied with the electron microscope. Subcellular particles were stratified by centrifuging living cells, known to be normally fertilizable, for five minutes at 3,000 g. The layered subcellular particles, including cortical granules, 16 mµ RNP particles, pigment, yolk, mitochondria, and oil droplets, possess characteristic ultrastructural features by which they may be identified in situ. The clear zone contains 16 mµ particles, most of them freely dispersed, scattered mitochondria, and a few composite structures made up of annulate lamellae in parallel layers or in association with dense, spherical aggregates of the RNP particles. Free 16 mµ particles are found, in addition, throughout the cell, in the interstices between the stratified larger particles. They show a tendency to form ramifying aggregates resulting from certain types of injury to the cell. A few vesicular structures, found mainly in the clear zone, have attached RNP particles, and appear to be related to the ER of tissue cells. Other vesicles, bounded by smooth membranes, are found throughout the cell. These are extremely variable in size, number, and distribution; their total number appears to depend upon conditions of fixation. It is suggested that limited formation of such structures is a normal property of the ground cytoplasm in this cell, but that fixed cells with very large numbers of smooth surfaced vesicles have produced the latter as a response to chemical injury. A model of the ground cytoplasm is proposed whose aim is to reconcile the rheological behavior of the living cell with the ultrastructural features observed.

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