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J Cell Sci. 1976 Jul;21(2):361-90.

The blepharoplast of Marsilea: its de novo formation and spindle association.

Abstract

Blepharoplast formation and function has been investigated by light and electron microscopy in developing microspores of the water fern Marsilea vestita. When single-celled microspores are hydrated they undergo a series of 9 cell divisions producing 7 sterile cells plus 32 spermatids. The blepharoplast, a densely staining, spherical inclusion (0-5-1-0 mum in diameter) interpenetrated by numerous lightly stained channels, is a precursor organelle for the production of the 100-150 basal bodies of the motile sperm. During development it arises twice in the dividing spermatogenous cells; first in telophase of the second to last or 7th division, and again in telophase of the next to last or 8th division. The blepharoplast first forms on the distal side of the nucleus during telophase of the 7th division but soon degenerates as the cell enters prophase and metaphase of the 8th division. The blepharoplast first forms on the distal side of the nucleus during telophase of the 7th division but soon degenerates as the cell enters prophase and metaphase of the 8th division. During telophase of the 8th division the blepharoplast again arises in the cytoplasm near a small indentation of the nuclear envelope. The forming blepharoplast consists of a sphere of lightly stained flocculent material within which 2 plaques separated by 40-50 nm arise. Each plaque possesses 2 dense layers (20 nm) separated by a light layer (10 nm). During subsequent development the distal layer of each plaque becomes progressively more densely stained. Light-staining channels appear within the accumulating dense material a-d 2 hemispherical blepharoplasts emerge. The blepharoplasts become spherical through continued growth and finally separate from each other as they move to the spindle poles during prophase of the last or 9th division. The blepharoplast appears to act as a microtubule organizing centre during formation of the spindle apparatus in prophase of the 9th division. While it remains at the pole throughout mitosis it does not continue to serve as the focal point for the spindle tubules. During metaphase-anaphase of the 9th division the blepharoplast swells, and the channels at its surface begin transforming into procentrioles and finally basal bodies. The results support the contention that basal bodies in Marsilea arise de novo, since no preexisting template such as a centriolar pinwheel is observed and sine the intermediates which initially occur are structurally dissimilar from a procentriole.

PMID:
972175
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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