We have studied the timing of preprophase band (PPB) development in the division cycle of onion (Allium cepa L.) root-tip cells by combinations of immunofluorescence microscopy of microtubules, microspectrophotometry of nuclear DNA, and autoradiography of [3H]thymidine incorporation during pulse-chase experiments. In normally grown onion root tips, every cell with a PPB had the G2 level of nuclear DNA. Some were in interphase, prior to chromatin condensation, and some had varying degrees of chromatin condensation, up to the stage of prophase at which the PPB-prophase spindle transition occurs. In addition, autoradiography showed that PPBs can be formed in cells which have just finished their S phase, and microspectrophotometry enabled us to detect a population of cells in G2 which had no PPBs, these presumably including cells which had left the division cycle. The effects of inhibitors of DNA synthesis showed that the formation of PPBs is not fully coupled to events of the nuclear cycle. Although the mitotic index decreased 6-10-fold to less than 0.5% when roots were kept in 20 μg·ml-1 aphidicolin for more than 8 h, the percentage of cells containing PPBs did not decrease in proportion: the number of cells in interphase with PPBs increased while the number in prophase decreased. Almost the same phenomena were observed in the presence of 100 μg·ml-1 5-aminouracil and 40 μg·ml-1 hydroxyurea. In controls, all cells with PPBs were in G2 or prophase, but in the presence of aphidicolin, 5-aminouracil or hydroxyurea, some of the interphase cells with PPBs were in the S phase or even in the G1 phase. We conclude that PPB formation normally occurs in G2 (in at least some cases very early in G2) and that this timing can be experimentally uncoupled from the timing of DNA duplication in the cell-division cycle. The result accords with other evidence indicating that the cytoplasmic events of cytokinesis are controlled in parallel to the nuclear cycle, rather than in an obligatorily coupled sequence.
- Cell cycle
- DNA synthesis inhibitors and cell cycle
- Preprophase band
- Root meristem