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Nuclear structures in Tribolium castaneum oocytes


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The first ultrastructural and immunomorphological characteristics of the karyosphere (karyosome) and extrachromosomal nuclear bodies in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, are presented. The karyosphere forms early in the diplotene stage of meiotic prophase by the gathering of all oocyte chromosomes in a limited nuclear volume. Using the BrUTP assay, T. castaneum oocyte chromosomes united in the karyosphere maintain their transcriptional activity until the end of oocyte growth. Hyperphosphorylated RNA polymerase II and basal transcription factors (TFIID and TFIIH) were detected in the perichromatin region of the karyosphere. The T. castaneum karyosphere has an extrachromosomal capsule that separates chromosomes from the rest of the nucleoplasm. Certain structural proteins (F-actin, lamin B) were found in the capsule. Unexpectedly, the karyosphere capsule in T. castaneum oocytes was found to be enriched in TMG-capped snRNAs, which suggests that the capsule is not only a structural support for the karyosphere, but may be involved in biogenesis of snRNPs. We also identified the counterparts of ‘universal’ extrachromosomal nuclear domains, Cajal bodies (CBs) and interchromatin granule clusters (IGCs). Nuclear bodies containing IGC marker protein SC35 display some features unusual for typical IGCs. SC35 domains in T. castaneum oocytes are predominantly fibrillar complex bodies that do not contain trimethyl guanosine (TMG)-capped small nuclear (sn) RNAs. Microinjections of 2′-O-methyl (U)22 probes into the oocytes allowed revealing poly(A)+ RNAs in these nuclear domains. Several proteins related to mRNA export (heterogeneous ribonucleoprotein core protein A1, export adapters Y14 and Aly and export receptor NXF1) were also detected there. We believe that unusual SC35 nuclear domains of T. castaneum oocytes are possibly involved in mRNP but not snRNP biogenesis.