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Genome. 1991 Dec;34(6):888-94.

Presence of a centromeric filament during meiosis.

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Centro de Investigaciones en Reproducción, Facultad de Medicina, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Spermatocytes at meiotic metaphase I and anaphase I have a characteristic centromeric filament in a variety of vertebrate organisms. This centromeric filament was first demonstrated on mouse spermatocytes and its presence is now extended to spermatocytes from the human, rat, golden hamster, bull, and chicken. The visualization of this filament was possible through the use of a novel silver-staining technique, which allows a high contrast between the filament and the centromeric chromatin. In the species cited, the centromeric filament shares an intense staining, a short (0.2-0.6 micron) length, a curved and branched shape, and location inside the centromeric chromatin of seemingly every homologue of the complement. The similarity of staining reactivity and the observation of transitional structures during first meiotic prophase strongly suggest that the centromeric filament is a remnant of a lateral element of the synaptonemal complex, which stays specifically at both centromeric regions of each bivalent. This filament is not found at the second meiotic division or at the centromeres of mitotic chromosomes. It is assumed that this centromeric filament joins the two sister chromatids of each homologue at the centromere and thus ensures the proper coorientation of sister kinetochores at metaphase I. Further testable assumptions on the functions of this filament are presented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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