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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Dec 1987; 84(23): 8488–8492.
PMCID: PMC299569

Centrosome detection in sea urchin eggs with a monoclonal antibody against Drosophila intermediate filament proteins: characterization of stages of the division cycle of centrosomes.


A mouse monoclonal antibody generated against Drosophila intermediate filament proteins (designated Ah6/5/9 and referred to herein as Ah6) is found to cross-react specifically with centrosomes in sea urchin eggs and with a 68-kDa antigen in eggs and isolated mitotic apparatus. When preparations stained with Ah6 are counterstained with a human autoimmune serum whose anti-centrosome activity has been established, the immunofluorescence images superimpose exactly. A more severe test of the specificity of the antibody demands that it display all of the stages of the centrosome cycle in the cell cycle: the flattening and spreading of the compact centrosomes followed by their division and the establishment of two compact poles. The test was made by an experimental design that uses a period of exposure of the eggs to 2-mercaptoethanol. This treatment allows observation of the stages of the centrosome cycle--separation, division, and bipolarization--while the chromosomes are arrested in metaphase. Mitosis is arrested in the presence of 0.1 M 2-mercaptoethanol. Chromosomes remain in a metaphase configuration while the centrosomes divide, producing four poles perpendicular to the original spindle axis. Microtubules are still present in the mitotic apparatus, as indicated by immunofluorescence and transmission electron microscopy. When 2-mercaptoethanol is removed, the chromosomes reorient to the poles of a tetrapolar (sometimes tripolar) mitotic apparatus. During the following cycle, the blastomeres form a monopolar mitotic apparatus. The observations of the centrosome cycle with the Ah6 antibody display very clearly all the stages that have been seen or deduced from work with other probes. The 68-kDa antigen that reacts with the Ah6 monoclonal antibody to Drosophila intermediate filament proteins must be a constant component of sea urchin centrosomes because it is present at all stages of the centrosome cycle.

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