As anaphase began, mitotic PtK1 and newt lung epithelial cells were permeabilized with digitonin in permeabilization medium (PM). Permeabilization stopped cytoplasmic activity, chromosome movement, and cytokinesis within about 3 min, presumably due to the loss of endogenous ATP. ATP, GTP, or ATP-gamma-S added in the PM 4-7 min later restarted anaphase A while kinetochore fibers shortened. AMPPNP could not restart anaphase A; ATP was ineffective if the spindle was stabilized in PM + DMSO. Cells permeabilized in PM + taxol varied in their response to ATP depending on the stage of anaphase reached: one mid-anaphase cell showed initial movement of chromosomes back to the metaphase plate upon permeabilization but later, anaphase A resumed when ATP was added. Anaphase A was also reactivated by cold PM (approximately 16 degrees C) or PM containing calcium (1-10 mM). Staining of fixed cells with antitubulin showed that microtubules (MTs) were relatively stable after permeabilization and MT assembly was usually promoted in asters. Astral and kinetochore MTs were sensitive to MT disassembly conditions, and shortening of kinetochore MTs always accompanied reactivation of anaphase A. Interphase and interzonal spindle MTs were relatively stable to cold and calcium until extraction of cells was promoted by longer periods in the PM, or by higher concentrations of detergent. Since we cannot envisage how both cold treatment or relatively high calcium levels can reactivate spindle motility in quiescent, permeabilized, and presumably energy-depleted cells, we conclude that anaphase A is powered by energy stored in the spindle. The nucleotide triphosphates effective in reactivating anaphase A could be necessary for the kinetochore MT disassembly without which anaphase movement cannot proceed.

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