Nuclear division in Schizosaccharomyces pombe has been studied in transmission electron micrographs of sections of cells fixed by a method of freeze-substitution. We have found cytoplasmic microtubules in the vicinity of the spindle pole bodies and two kinds of microtubules, short discontinuous ones and long, parallel ones in the intranuclear mitotic spindle. For most of the time taken by nuclear division the spindle pole bodies face each other squarely across the nuclear space but early in mitosis they briefly appear twisted out of alignment with each other, thereby imparting a sigmoidal shape to the bundle of spindle microtubules extending between them. This configuration is interpreted as indicating active participation of the spindle in the initial elongation of the dividing nucleus. It is proposed that mitosis is accompanied by the shortening of chromosomal microtubules simultaneously with the elongation of the central pole-to-pole bundle of microtubules of the intranuclear spindle. Daughter nuclei are separated by the sliding apart of interdigitating microtubules of the spindle at telophase. Some of the latter bear dense knobs at their ends.
- © 1986 by Company of Biologists
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