Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 247, Issue 2, pp 275–285 | Cite as

Subcellular organization of the yolk syncytial-endoderm complex in the preimplantation yolk sac of the shark, Rhizoprionodon terraenovae

  • William C. Hamlett
  • Frank J. Schwartz
  • Liberato J. A. DiDio


The structure of the yolk syncytial-endoderm complex of the preimplantation yolk sac of the shark is examined by light- and transmission electron microscopy. The yolk syncytium is bounded by a membrane that is anchored to the plasmalemma of adjacent endoderm cells by desmosomes. Enlarged nuclei, rough endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi complexes, mitochondria, and other cellular organelles populate the syncytium. Microtubules and filamentous elements are also observed free in the syncytium. Yolk is present as pleomorphic droplets, the profiles of which are generally spherical but may be vesicular, especially at the periphery of large yolk droplets. Occasionally, large yolk droplets have a paracrystalline configuration. Small yolk droplets are modulated through the Golgi complex of the yolk syncytium, and it is suggested that acid hydrolases are added there. Small yolk droplets released from the maturing face of the Golgi complex are sequestered in membrane-limited packets. The membrane of the packets fuses with the membrane enveloping the yolk syncytium and the yolk droplets are released into the yolk syncytialendoderm interspace. Subsequently, the yolk droplets are endocytosed by the endoderm. Yolk droplets disperse and fuse to form the large irregular yolk inclusions of the endoderm. Yolk metabolites are transported out of the endoderm through the yolk sac endothelium. The yolk sac endoderm thus mediates the transfer of metabolites from the yolk mass to the extraembryonic circulation.

Key words

Yolk sac Endoderm Fetal membranes Endocytosis Shark, Rhizoprionodon terraenovae 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Hamlett
    • 1
  • Frank J. Schwartz
    • 2
  • Liberato J. A. DiDio
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyMedical College of OhioToledoUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Marine SciencesUniversity of North CarolinaMorehead CityUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnatomyMedical College of Ohio, C.S. 10008ToledoUSA

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