Differential DNA synthesis in heterochromatic and euchromatic chromosome sets of Planococcus citri

Research paper by Gloria Lorick

Indexed on: 01 Mar '70Published on: 01 Mar '70Published in: Chromosoma


In males of the mealy bug Planococcus citri, Nur (1966) counted five heterochromatic (H) and about 5, 10, 20, 40, or 80 euchromatic (E) chromosomes in testis sheath nuclei which were undergoing endomitosis. He suggested that the H chromosomes were not replicating and that the nuclei were becoming polyploid as a result of successive cycles of replication of only the E chromosomes. This hypothesis was tested using autoradiography with H3-thymidine to detect DNA synthesis and microspectrophotometric measurements of the Feulgen reaction in nuclei to detect quantitative changes in DNA. — The integrated absorbance of the whole nucleus and of the isolated clump of heterochromatic chromosomes (H body) in polyploid testis sheath nuclei were measured using the mechanical scanner of the CYDAC system. The absorbance of the H body was similar in all testis sheath nuclei examined and was not significantly different from the absorbance of a haploid set of H chromosomes measured after meiosis. The absorbance of the euchromatic component varied in different sheath nuclei, the values closely corresponding to the terms of the series 2c, 4c, 8c. This series is expected if the DNA in the E chromosomes is exactly doubled at each cycle of replication. — Autoradiographs showed that most labeled sheath nuclei had silver grains localized exclusively over euchromatin. With one exception, the remainder of the labeled nuclei had silver grains over both euchromatin and the H body. The observation that euchromatin was much more heavily labeled than the H body and that labeled H bodies occurred at a low frequency and only in the presence of labeled euchromatin suggests that the H body did not incorporate the label and that the silver grains over the H body were the result of β-particles which originated in proximal euchromatin.