, Volume 85, Issue 2, pp 221-236

Replication in Drosophila chromosomes

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Abstract

Prolongation of larval life in Drosophila melanogaster, by growing wild type larvae at lower temperature, or in animals carrying the X-linked mutation giant is known to result in a greater proportion of nuclei in salivary glands showing the highest level of polyteny. We have examined by autoradiography the patterns of 3H-thymidine incorporation during 10 min or 1 min pulses in salivary gland polytene chromosomes of older giant larvae and of wild type late third instar larvae of D. melanogaster grown since hatching either at 24 ° C or at 10 ° C. The various patterns of labelling and their relative frequencies are generally similar in glands from the warm-(24 ° C) or cold (10 ° C)-reared wild type larvae, except the interband (IB) labelling patterns which are very frequent in the later group but rare in the former. The IB type labelled nuclei in cold-reared wild type larvae show labelling ranging from only a few puffs/interbands labelled to nearly all puffs/interbands labelled. In warm-reared wild type larvae, very low labelled IB patterns are not seen. In older giant larvae, the 3H-thymidine labelling patterns are in most respects similar to those seen in cold-reared wild type larvae. In 1 min pulsed preparations from all larvae, the IB patterns are relatively more frequent than in corresponding 10 min pulsed preparations. No nuclei with the continuous (2C or 3C) type of labelling pattern, with all bands and interbands/puffs labelled, were seen in 1 min pulsed preparations from cold-reared wild type or in giant larvae, and only a few nuclei in 1 min pulsed preparations from warm-reared wild type larvae exhibited the 2C labelling pattern. Analysis of silver grain density on specific late replicating sites in late discontinuous (1D) type labelled nuclei suggests that the rate of DNA synthesis per chromosomal site is not different at the two developmental temperatures. It is suggested that correlated with the prolongation of larval life under cold-rearing conditions or in giant larvae, the polytene replication cycles are also prolonged. It is further suggested that the polytene S-period in these larvae is longer due to a considerable asynchrony in the initiation and termination of replication of different sites during a replication cycle.