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1 July 2011 Amitotic Division of the Macronucleus in Tetrahymena thermophila: DNA Distribution by Genomic Unit
Masaki Endo, Toshiro Sugai
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The macronucleus of the ciliate Tetrahymena cell contains euchromatin and numerous heterochromatins called chromatin bodies. During cell division, a chromatin aggregate larger than chromatin body appears in the macronucleus. We observed chromatin aggregates in the dividing macronucleus in a living T. thermophila cell, and found that these were globular in morphology and homogeneous in size. To observe globular chromatin clearly, optimal conditions for making it compact were studied. Addition of Mg ion, benomyl and oryzalin, microtubule inhibitors, to cell suspension was effective. Globular chromatin appeared when the micronuclear anaphase began at the cell cortex, and disappeared long after cell separation. Using living cells with a small macronucleus at early log phase, we counted the number of globular chromatin per nucleus and measured the DNA content of globular chromatin in the macronucleus which was stained with Hoechst 33342 by using ImageJ. The number of globular chromatin per nucleus was reduced by half after division, indicating the globular chromatin is a distribution unit of DNA. A globular chromatin contained similar DNA content as that of the macronuclear genome. We developed methods for inducing and isolating a cell with an extremely small macronucleus with a DNA amount of one globular chromatin. These cells grew, divided, and give clones, suggesting that the macronuclear genome is not dispersed within the macronucleus and the globular chromatin may be a macronuclear genome. We named this globular chromatin “macronuclear genome unit” (MGU).

© 2011 Zoological Society of Japan
Masaki Endo and Toshiro Sugai "Amitotic Division of the Macronucleus in Tetrahymena thermophila: DNA Distribution by Genomic Unit," Zoological Science 28(7), 482-490, (1 July 2011).
Received: 11 November 2010; Accepted: 1 December 2010; Published: 1 July 2011
cell division
chromatin structure
segregation of genomes
Tetrahymena thermophila
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