N-Ethylmaleimide-modified heavy meromyosin (NEM-HMM) microinjected into amphibian eggs inhibits cytokinesis and the cortical contractions associated with wound closure. Injection of NEM-HMM into two-cell Rana pipiens embryos produces a zone of cleavage inhibition around the point of injection. Early furrows followed by time-lapse microcinematography are seen to slow and stop as they enter the NEM-HMM-injected zone. Arrested furrows slowly regress, leaving a large region of cytoplasm uncleaved. Few nuclei are found in these regions of cleavage inhibition. Wound closure is often inhibited by NEM-HMM, especially when this inhibitor is injected just beneath the egg cortex. We observe that the surface of an unfertilized Rana egg is covered with microvilli that disappear during the course of development. The surfaces of NEM-HMM-inhibited zones remain covered with microvilli and resemble the unfertilized egg surface.

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