Light and electron microscopy of rat kangaroo cells in mitosis

Research paper by Urs -Peter Roos

Indexed on: 01 Jun '73Published on: 01 Jun '73Published in: Chromosoma


Kinetochores in rat kangaroo (PtK2) cells in prophase of mitosis are finely fibrillar, globular bodies, 5000–8000 Å in diameter. Sister kinetochores are attached to opposite lateral faces in the primary constriction of chromosomes. No microtubules (MTs) occur in prophase nuclei. During prometaphase the ball-shaped kinetochores differentiate into trilaminar plaques. An outer kinetochore layer, less electron dense than chromatin, appears first in the fibrillar matrix. The inner layer, continuous with, but more electron dense than the chromosome, is formed later. Kinetochore-spindle MT interaction is evident at the very beginning of prometaphase. As a result, kinetochore shape is very variable, but three types of kinetochores can be distinguished by fine structure analysis. A comparison of kinetochore structure and chromosome position in the mitotic spindle yielded clues regarding initial orientation and congression. At the time the nuclear envelope (NE) breaks down chromosomes near asters orient first. Chromosomes approximately equidistant from the two spindle poles amphi-orient immediately. Chromosomes closer to one pole probably achieve mono-orientation first, then amphi-orient and congress. In normal metaphase all the chromosomes lie at or near the spindle equator and kinetochores are structurally uniform. Paraxial and para-equatorial sections revealed that they are trilaminar, roughly circular plaques of 4000–6000 Å diameter. Inner and outer layers are 400 Å, and the electron translucent middle layer which separates them is 270 Å thick. From 16 to 40 MTs are anchored in the outer layer. In cold-treated cells the kinetochores are trilaminar, but in colcemid-treated cells the inner layer is lacking. Both kinetochores and their MTs are disorganized beginning in late anaphase. In telophase the inner layer persists for some time as an electron dense patch apposed to the NE, while the outer layer disintegrates.