Dynamic changes in microtubule organization during division of the primitive dinoflagellate Oxyrrhis marina


Correspondence and reprints kato@nsc.nagoya-cu.ac.jp


Summry— The marine dinoflagellate Oxyrrhis marina has three major microtubular systems: the flagellar apparatus made of one transverse and one longitudinal flagella and their appendages, cortical microtubules, and intranuclear microtubules. We investigated the dynamic changes of these microtubular systems during cell division by transmission and scanning electron microscopy, and confocal fluorescent laser microscopy. During prophase, basal bodies, both flagella and their appendages were duplicated. In the round nucleus situated in the cell centre, intranuclear microtubules appeared radiating toward the centre of the nucleus from densities located in some nuclear pores. During metaphase, both daughter flagellar apparatus separated and moved apart along the main cell axis. Microtubules of ventral cortex were also duplicated and moved with the flagellar apparatus. The nucleus flattened in the longitudinal direction and became discoid-shaped close to the equatorial plane. Many bundles of microtubules ran parallel to the short axis of the nucleus (cell long axis), between which chromosomes were arranged in the same direction. During ana—telophase, the nucleus elongated along the longitudinal axis and took a dumbbell shape. At this stage a contractile ring containing actin was clearly observed in the equatorial cortex. The cortical microtubule network seemed to be cut into two halves at the position of the actin bundle. Shortly after, the nucleus divided into two nuclei, then the cell body was constricted at its equator and divided into one anterior and one posterior halves which were soon rebuilt to produce two cells with two full sets of cortical microtubules. From our observations, several mechanisms for the duplication of the microtubule networks during mitosis in O. marina are discussed.