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Chromosoma. 1995 Nov;104(3):203-14.

Microtubule-driven nuclear movements and linear elements as meiosis-specific characteristics of the fission yeasts Schizosaccharomyces versatilis and Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

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Department of Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Jostova 10, 66 243 Brno, Czech Republic.


Meiotic prophase in Schizosaccharomyces pombe is characterized by striking nuclear movements and the formation of linear elements along chromosomes instead of tripartite synaptonemal complexes. We analysed the organization of nuclei and microtubules in cells of fission yeasts undergoing sexual differentiation. S. japonicus var. versatilis and S. pombe cells were studied in parallel, taking advantage of the better cytology in S. versatilis. During conjugation, microtubules were directed towards the mating projection. These microtubules seem to lead the haploid nuclei together in the zygote by interaction with the spindle pole bodies at the nuclear periphery. After karyogamy, arrays of microtubules emanating from the spindle pole body of the diploid nucleus extended to both cell poles. The same differentiated microtubule configuration was elaborated upon induction of azygotic meiosis in S. pombe. The cyclic movements of the elongated nuclei between the cell poles is reflected by a dynamic and coordinated shortening and lengthening of the two microtubule arrays. When the nucleus was at a cell end, one array was short while the other bridged the whole cell length. Experiments with inhibitors showed that microtubules are required for karyogamy and for the elongated shape and movement of nuclei during meiotic prophase. In both fission yeasts the SPBs and nucleoli are at the leading ends of the moving nuclei. Astral and cytoplasmic microtubules were also prominent during meiotic divisions and sporulation. We further show that in S. versatilis the linear elements formed during meiotic prophase are similar to those in S. pombe. Tripartite synaptonemal complexes were never detected. Taken together, these findings suggest that S. pombe and S. versatilis share basic characteristics in the organization of microtubules and the structure and behaviour of nuclei during their meiotic cell cycle. The prominent differentiations of microtubules and nuclei may be involved in the pairing, recombination, and segregation of meiotic chromosomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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