Microtubule arrays present during the syncytial and cellular blastoderm stages of the early Drosophila embryo

Exp Cell Res. 1986 Mar;163(1):201-10. doi: 10.1016/0014-4827(86)90573-2.


The organization of microtubules within the surface caps of Drosophila embryos is described for the mitotic cycles of the syncytial blastoderm stage (particularly cycle 10), and for the subsequent cellularization process. Tubulin was labelled with the well characterized monoclonal antibody YL 1/2 (Kilmartin et al., J cell biol 93 (1982) 576). Each surface cap was found to contain an array of microtubules running around the nucleus. The microtubules originated at prominent centrosomes located close to the apical surface of each cap nucleus. During mitosis the spindle microtubules stained strongly for tubulin. A novel finding was that the spindle microtubules of the interzone region appeared to reduce their connections with the centrosomes at the end of anaphase. The spindle remnant remained in position during telophase but then became smaller in size, disappearing by interphase. At this phase of the cell cycle duplication of the aster centrosomes occurred. The cellular blastoderm stage was marked by a change in the main axis of microtubule orientation. The centrosomes of each cap separated somewhat and formed initiation centres for the development of a well developed basket of microtubules around each nucleus, but now perpendicular to the surface. The microtubule baskets were seen to extend in parallel with nuclear elongation, but not in concert with growth of the cell membranes, which extended some way beneath the bases of the nuclei.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaphase
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Blastoderm / cytology
  • Blastoderm / ultrastructure
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Drosophila / embryology*
  • Drosophila / ultrastructure
  • Metaphase
  • Microtubules / analysis
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure*
  • Mitosis*
  • Spindle Apparatus / ultrastructure
  • Telophase
  • Tubulin / analysis
  • Tubulin / immunology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Tubulin