Article

Chromosoma

, Volume 92, Issue 4, pp 313-324

First online:

Microtubules, chromosome movement, and reorientation after chromosomes are detached from the spindle by micromanipulation

  • R. Bruce NicklasAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, Duke University
  • , Donna F. KubaiAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, Duke University

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Abstract

The relationship between chromosome movement and mirotubules was explored by combining micromanipulation of living grasshopper spermatocytes with electron microscopy. We detached chromosomes from the spindle and placed them far out in the cytoplasm. Soon, the chromosomes began to move back toward the spindle and the cells were fixed at a chosen moment. The microtubules seen in three-dimensional reconstructions were correlated with the chromosome movement just prior to fixation. Before movement began, detached chromosomes had no kinetochore microtubules or a single one at most. Renewed movement was always accompanied by the reappearance of kinetochore microtubules; a single kinetochore microtubule appeared to suffice. Chromosome movements and kinetochore microtubule arrangements were unusual after reattachment, but their relationship was not: poleward forces, parallel to the kinetochore microtubule axis (as in normal anaphase), would explain the movement, however odd. The initial arrangement of kinetochore microtubules would have led to aberrant chromosome distribution if it persisted, but instead, reorientation to the appropriate arrangement always followed. Observations on living cells permitted us to place in sequence the kinetochore microtubule arrangements seen in fixed cells, revealing the microtubule transformations during reorientation. From the sequence of events we conclude that chromosome movement can cause reorientation to begin and that in the changes which follow, an unstable attachment of kinetochore microtubules to the spindle plays a major role.