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J Struct Biol. 1990 Apr;103(2):104-12.

Ethanol-phosphotungstic acid and bismuth staining of spermatid nucleoli in mouse spermiogenesis.

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Department of Embryology, Institute for Developmental Research, Aichi Prefectural Colony, Japan.


The nucleoli of developing mouse spermatids were examined with ethanol-phosphotungstic acid (E-PTA) staining, and also with bismuth staining following formaldehyde fixation (FA-Bi staining) and glutaraldehyde fixation (GA-Bi staining). Only the cortical zone of the nucleolar dense fibrillar component (DFC) in the round spermatids was stained with E-PTA, while the inner area remained either faintly (early Golgi-phase spermatids) or completely unstained (cap-phase spermatids). Incubation of the fixed testis with dithiothreitol before E-PTA staining resulted in homogeneously intense staining of the DFC. The facts suggest that numerous E-PTA-positive basic proteins were present in the DFC, but disulfide crosslinks formed in the DFC proteins prevent penetration of PTA into the DFC interior. The DFC was stained with bismuth after FA-Bi and GA-Bi staining until the disappearance of the nucleoli occurring in acrosome-phase spermatids. The fibrillar center, homogeneously stained using E-PTA, FA-Bi, and GA-Bi methods was present in the nucleoli of Golgi-phase and early cap-phase spermatids, but disappeared in the nucleoli of late cap-phase spermatids. These results are discussed based on the previous studies dealing with the ribosomal RNA synthesis in mouse spermiogenesis.

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