Surface contraction waves in amphibian eggs

M. Yoneda, Y. Kobayakawa, H. Y. Kubota, M. Sakai

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55 Citations (Scopus)


Circular waves of change in brightness , known as 'surface contraction waves' (SCW-1 and SCW-2), propagate over the animal surface of amphibian eggs at each cycle of cleavage. Movement of carbon particles attached to the egg surface indicated that SCW-1 involves expansion of the egg surface, whereas SCW-2 accompanies surface contraction. Stiffness of the cortex as measured by applying negative pressure through a micropipette increased concomitantly with the passage of SCW-2. Measurement of stiffness at two loci on the egg surface with two sets of pipettes confirmed the spatio-temporal coincidence of the wave of stiffness and SCW-2. The stiffness showed either no change or even a slight decrease on passage of SCW-1. Thus SCW-2 is a genuine wave of 'contraction', but SCW-1 can more properly be called a 'surface relaxation wave'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of cell science
VolumeVol. 54
Publication statusPublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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