Asymmetrical distribution of microvilli in cytochalasin B-induced pseudocleavage of mouse oocytes


CYTOCHALASIN B, a fungal alkaloid first described by Carter1, has diverse effects on cultured cells, including inhibition of morphogenetic and movement processes, and interference with hormone mediated cellular response2. It also induces various cultured mammalian cells to segregate the nucleus into an evagination of the plasma membrane which occasionally breaks away from the cell body3. Although some of the biological effects of cytochalasin B have been attributed to the disruption of microfilamentous structures found in cells, the mechanism of action of the drug remains unclear4. We have found that mouse oocytes cultured in the presence of cytochalasin B divide into two compartments; a process we called ‘pseudocleavage’5. We now report, using scanning electron microscopy, that although one of the oocyte compartments is covered with microvilli, the other is smooth. This suggests that cytochalasin B triggers a redistribution of cell surface elements in the mouse oocyte.

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WASSARMAN, P., UKENA, T., JOSEFOWICZ, W. et al. Asymmetrical distribution of microvilli in cytochalasin B-induced pseudocleavage of mouse oocytes. Nature 265, 742–744 (1977).

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