, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 28-43

The fine structure of the kinetochore of a mammalian cell in vitro

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The chromosomes of Chinese hamster cells were examined with the electron microscope and the following observations were made concerning the structure and organization of the kinetochore. — The kinetochore consists of a dense core 200–300 Å in diameter surrounded hy a less dense zone 200–600 Å wide. The dense core consists of a pair of axial fibrils 50–80 Å in diameter which may be coiled together in a cohelical manner. The less dense zone about the axial elements is composed of numerous microfibrils which loop out at right angles to the axial fibrils. Together the structures comprise a lampbrush-like filament which extends along the surface of each chromatid. Some sections suggested that two such filaments may be present on each chromatid. The fine structure of kinetochores associated with spindle filaments was essentially the same as those free of filaments. The structure and organization of the kinetochore of these mammalian cells was compared to that of lampbrush chromosomes of certain amphibian oöcytes, dipteran polytene chromosome puffs, and the synaptinemal complex seen during meiotic prophase.

The authors also wish to thank Dr. Arthur Cole of the Department of Physics for the use of his electron microscope facilities and for his helpful criticism.