Vegetative cells were subjected to electrofusion and the resulting heteropolar doublets were then mated to normal single cells and followed throughout conjugation using cytological and genetic techniques. The unique cyto-geometry created in a heteropolar doublet—a continuous cytoplasmic compartment bounded by two anterior poles and sharing a fused posterior pole at midbody, and the potential for two conjugal exchange junctions—resulted in instructive perturbations of nuclear behavior. Our results indicate that the course of nuclear development is strongly dependent on the cortical geometry of conjugating cells. Specifically, 1) continuation of development after meiosis requires an established conjugal junction; 2) after pronuclear exchange, pronuclei are subjected to attractive forces; and 3) products of the second postzygotic division are actively positioned near the posterior region of the cell cortex where they develop into micronuclei.
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Vol. 47 • No. 6