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Chromosoma. 1981;83(4):523-40.

Structure of kinetochore fibers: microtubule continuity and inter-microtubule bridges.

Abstract

To understand how microtubules interact in forming the mitotic apparatus and orienting and moving chromosomes, the precise arrangement of microtubules in kinetochore fibers in Chinese hamster ovary cells was examined. Individual microtubules were traced, using high voltage electron microscopy of serial 0.25 micron sections, from the kinetochore toward the pole. Microtubule arrangement in kinetochore fibers in untreated mitotic cells and in cells recovering from Colcemid arrest were similar in two respects: the number of microtubules per kinetochore (mean 14 and 12, respectively) and the nearest neighbor intermicrotubule distance (mean approximately 90 nm). In Colcemid recovered cells, over 90% of the microtubules in kinetochore fibers were attached to the kinetochore (i.e. kinetochore microtubules) are extended most or all of the distance to the pole. Few free microtubules were present in the kinetochore fibers; most non-kinetochore microtubules terminated in the pole. Since kinetochores in this Colcemid-recovered system have been demonstrated to nucleate microtubules (Witt et al., 1980), it seems likely that most if not all of these kinetochore microtubules originated at the kinetochore. Some of the reconstructed kinetochore fibers were attached to chromosomes with bipolar orientation, suggesting that kinetochore microtubules need not interact with many polar microtubules for orientation to occur. In Colcemid recovered cells lysed to reduce cytoplasmic background, microtubules in kinetochore fibers were preferentially preserved. The parallel and near-hexagonal order typical of microtubules in kinetochore fibers was maintained, as was the number of kinetochore microtubules (mean, 13). The intermicrotubule distance was slightly reduced in lysed cells (mean, 60 nm). Crossbridges about 5 nm wide and 30-40 nm long were visible in kinetochore fibers of lysed cells. Such crossbridges probably contribute to the stabilization and parallel order of microtubules in kinetochore fibers, any may have a functional role as well.

PMID:
7196830
DOI:
10.1007/bf00328277
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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