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Steps of nuclear pore complex disassembly and reassembly during mitosis in early Drosophila embryos
Elena Kiseleva, Sandra Rutherford, Laura M. Cotter, Terence D. Allen, Martin W. Goldberg


The mechanisms of nuclear pore complex (NPC) assembly and disassembly during mitosis in vivo are not well defined. To address this and to identify the steps of the NPC disassembly and assembly, we investigated Drosophila embryo nuclear structure at the syncytial stage of early development using field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), a high resolution surface imaging technique, and transmission electron microscopy. Nuclear division in syncytial embryos is characterized by semi-closed mitosis, during which the nuclear membranes are ruptured only at the polar regions and are arranged into an inner double membrane surrounded by an additional ‘spindle envelope’. FESEM analysis of the steps of this process as viewed on the surface of the dividing nucleus confirm our previous in vitro model for the assembly of the NPCs via a series of structural intermediates, showing for the first time a temporal progression from one intermediate to the next. Nascent NPCs initially appear to form at the site of fusion between the mitotic nuclear envelope and the overlying spindle membrane. A model for NPC disassembly is offered that starts with the release of the central transporter and the removal of the cytoplasmic ring subunits before the star ring.

  • Accepted July 6, 2001.
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