Structure of kinetochore fibres in crane-fly spermatocytes after irradiation with an ultraviolet microbeam: neither microtubules nor actin filaments remain in the irradiated region

Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 2003 Nov;56(3):173-92. doi: 10.1002/cm.10144.


We studied chromosome movement after kinetochore microtubules were severed. Severing a kinetochore fibre in living crane-fly spermatocytes with an ultraviolet microbeam creates a kinetochore stub, a birefringent remnant of the spindle fibre connected to the kinetochore and extending only to the edge of the irradiated region. After the irradiation, anaphase chromosomes either move poleward led by their stubs or temporarily stop moving. We examined actin and/or microtubules in irradiated cells by means of confocal fluorescence microscopy or serial-section reconstructions from electron microscopy. For each cell thus examined, chromosome movement had been recorded continuously until the moment of fixation. Kinetochore microtubules were completely severed by the ultraviolet microbeam in cells in which chromosomes continued to move poleward after the irradiation: none were seen in the irradiated regions. Similarly, actin filaments normally present in kinetochore fibres were severed by the ultraviolet microbeam irradiations: the irradiated regions contained no actin filaments and only local spots of non-filamentous actin. There was no difference in irradiated regions when the associated chromosomes continued to move versus when they stopped moving. Thus, one cannot explain motion with severed kinetochore microtubules in terms of either microtubules or actin-filaments bridging the irradiated region. The data seem to negate current models for anaphase chromosome movement and support a model in which poleward chromosome movement results from forces generated within the spindle matrix that propel kinetochore fibres or kinetochore stubs poleward.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / radiation effects
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Chromosomes / radiation effects
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • Diptera
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Kinetochores / radiation effects*
  • Kinetochores / ultrastructure*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microtubules / radiation effects
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure
  • Spermatocytes / radiation effects*
  • Spermatocytes / ultrastructure*
  • Spindle Apparatus / radiation effects
  • Spindle Apparatus / ultrastructure
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*