Effect of the antitubulin drug nocodazole on meiosis and postmeiotic development in Tetrahymena thermophila. Induction of achiasmatic meiosis

Exp Cell Res. 1985 May;158(1):244-56. doi: 10.1016/0014-4827(85)90447-1.


Nocodazole (ND), a potent antitubulin drug, can be used to dissect the steps of meiosis in Tetrahymena, presumably by interfering with the assembly of microtubules. Its effects depend upon the time during conjugation at which the drug is applied. When applied prior to the elongation of the micronucleus into the characteristic 'crescent' configuration, no crescent is formed and the chromosomes of prepachytene and pachytene condense into spherical nuclei. If ND is applied after micronuclear elongation has begun, but before it is fully elongated, the chromosomes fail to synapse and appear in metaphase I as unpaired monovalents. In contrast, the metaphase I chromosomes appear as bivalents when ND is applied later, during or after the crescent has reached its maximum elongation. Still later, application of ND inhibits chromosome movements during anaphase and telophase of either meiotic division, but does not prevent separation of kinetochores. In some of the blocked restitutive nuclei an additional round of chromosome replication occurs, corresponding to the third pregamic division in normal conjugation. The hyperploid micronuclei produced by such treatment may be useful in certain genetic manipulations and in studying the regulation of nuclear DNA content.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzimidazoles / pharmacology*
  • Cell Fusion / drug effects
  • Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Conjugation, Genetic / drug effects
  • Crossing Over, Genetic / drug effects
  • Meiosis / drug effects*
  • Metaphase / drug effects
  • Microtubules / drug effects
  • Nocodazole
  • Spindle Apparatus / drug effects
  • Tetrahymena / cytology
  • Tetrahymena / drug effects*
  • Tetrahymena / genetics
  • Tubulin Modulators*


  • Benzimidazoles
  • Tubulin Modulators
  • Nocodazole