We used an ultraviolet microbeam to irradiate chromosomal spindle fibres in metaphase Haemanthus endosperm cells. An area of reduced birefringence (ARB) was formed at the position of the focussed ultraviolet light with all wavelengths we used (260, 270, 280, and 290 nm). The chromosomal spindle fibre regions (kinetochore microtubules) poleward from the ARBs were unstable: they shortened (from the ARB to the pole) either too fast for us to measure or at rates of about 40 microns per minute. The chromosomal spindle fibre regions (kinetochore microtubules) kinetochore-ward from the ARBs were stable: they did not change length for about 80 seconds, and then they increased in length at rates of about 0.7 microns per minute. The lengthening chromosomal spindle fibres sometimes grew in a direction different from that of the original chromosomal spindle fibre. The chromosome associated with the irradiated spindle fibre sometimes moved off the equator a few micrometers, towards the non-irradiated half-spindle. We discuss our results in relation to other results in the literature and conclude that kinetochores and poles influence the behaviour of kinetochore microtubules.
- © 1993 by Company of Biologists