Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Ultrastructural studies of cereal anthers found intranuclear bundles of microfilaments in pollen mother cells (PMCs) but not elsewhere. The ultrastructure, distribution, and behaviour of this fibrillar material (FM) are described. FM was seen in all 19 genotypes studied comprising Aegilops, Triticum, Secale, Hordeum and Avena species, which together included haploid, diploid and allo-and autopolyploid, and natural and synthetic polyploid examples. Detailed studies in diploid S. cereale, and hexaploid T. aestivum and Triticale showed that FM was present in PMC nuclei during premeiotic interphase, leptotene and zygotene but not at pachytene and later meiotic stages. Moreover, it was most abundant at late premeiotic interphase in T. aestivum, and at leptotene in S. cereale and Triticale, when it occurred in up to 100% of sampled PMC nuclei in an anther. Although FM and synaptonemal complex (SC) occurred together in some PMC nuclei at later stages, FM was present long before SC, and reached its peak of abundance before SC did. Bundles of FM often formed links at their ends between either two masses of chromatin, or more rarely, between chromatin and the nuclear membrane. Individual bundles of FM varied in length but showed roughly similar ranges of lengths and widths in these three species. They were up to about 0.2 μm in diameter and about 3 μm in length, equivalent to about 20% of the maximum diameter of the nuclei containing them. Reconstructions of PMC nuclei indicated that FM was never associated with centromeres but was sometimes, and perhaps usually, associated with telomeric or sub-telomeric chromosome segments. The function of FM is unknown but its possible role is discussed in relation to (1) previously described intranuclear inclusions in meiocytes and (2) the cytogenetics and developmental behaviour of meiotic nuclei in the wheat comparium. As FM was a constant and characteristic structural component of PMC nuclei, its presence is probably of functional significance to the meiotic process. If so, it may function before, and over greater distances, than SC in establishing or maintaining the coorientation of chromosomes prerequisite for normal chromosome pairing. As FM was most abundant at stages when major chromosome movements occur, yet its distribution was non-centromeric, it is suggested that it may function in the attachment and movement of telomeres at the nuclear membrane formed after premeiotic mitosis. The possibility that a bundle of FM normally links corresponding sites on two homologues is considered.
Type of Medium: