, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 245-268

Permeability of egg membranes

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Summary

  1. A method is described for measuring the rate of water exchange through living membranes.

  2. By this method definite rates of water exchange forFundulus eggs of different ages were established in solutions oi NaCl, KCl and CaCl2 of various molar concentrations. The effect of these salts in increasing permeability seems to be due to their cations, the order of effectiveness being Na>K>Ca.

  3. Marked physiological differences in the membranes of eggs in various developmental stages are indicated.

  4. The effect of the hydrogen-ion concentration of the solution on the rates of water exchange is of little significance.

  5. Antagonistic effects of mixtures of salts are not evident in the time interval involved in the experiments.

  6. The rÔles of the chorion and the vitelline membrane in the water and salt exchange of the egg ofFundulus are discussed.

I am deeply indebted to Dr. J. H.Bodine of the University of Pennsylvania for the suggestion of this problem and for his continued assistance and encouragement throughout the investigation. My thanks are due also to Dr. R. H.Harris, Director of The Biological Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, for providing research facilities.