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Biol Cell. 1988;62(3):211-8.

Quantitative ultrastructural study of nucleolus-organizing regions at some stages of the cell cycle (G0 period, G2 period, mitosis).

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A.N. Belozersky Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Bioorganic Chemistry, Moscow State University, USSR.


The quantitative characteristics of chromosomal nucleolus-organizing regions (NORs) and some other nucleolar components were studied on ultra-thin sections of pig embryo kidney cells (PK cells). It was shown that: 1) nucleoli-per-cell volumes were 3 times smaller in the G0 period than in the G2 period; 2) the number of fibrillar centers (FCs) per cell in the G0 period, the G2 period, and at metaphase was equal to 7, 33.7, and 8, respectively; 3) mean volumes of individual FCs in the G0 period (0.033 +/- 0.005 micron3), G2 period (0.014 +/- 0.001 micron3), and at metaphase (0.025 +/- 0.002 micron3) were significantly different; 4) the total volumes of FCs calculated per haploid set of chromosomes were practically the same in the G0 (0.105 micron3) and G2 (0.107 micron3) periods, but were twice as large as those at metaphase (0.04-0.05 micron3). These data show that partial activation and inactivation of ribosomal genes in interphase PK cells are not accompanied by a considerable change in the total volume of FCs and may be due to the fragmentation and fusion of individual FCs. Complete inactivation of ribosomal genes in mitosis results in a decrease of total volumes of FCs per cell; 5) in G0 and G2 periods the total volume of the dense fibrillar component per nucleolus is practically proportional to the nucleolus volume (r = 0.99); 6) in the G2 period, the nucleolus volume is also proportional to the number of FCs (r = 0.99; 7) the volume of the dense fibrillar component within individual fibrillar complexes is not a constant one.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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