The disintegration of the nuclear envelope has been examined in nuclei and nuclear envelopes isolated from amphibian oocytes from amphibian oocytes and rat liver tissue, using different electron microscope techniques (ultrathin sections and negatively or positively stained spread preparations). Various treatments were studied, including disruption by surface tension forces, very low salt concentrations, and nonionic detergents such as Triton C-100 and Nonidet P-40. The highest local stability of the cylinders of nonmembranous pore complex material is emphasized. As progressive disintegration occurred in the membrane regions, a network of fibrils became apparent which interconnects the pore complexes and is distinguished from the pore complex-associated about 15-20 nm thick, located at the level of the inner nuclear membrane, which is recognized in thin sections to bridge the interpore distances. With all disintegraiton treatments a somewhat higher susceptibility of the outer nuclear membrane is notable, but a selective removal does not take place. Final stages of disintegration are generally characterized by the absence of identifiable, membrane-like structures. Analysis of detergent-treated nuclei and nuclear membrane fractions shows almost complete absence of lipid components but retention bo significant amount of glycoproteins with a typical endomembrane-type carbohydrate pattern. Various alternative interpretations of these observations are discussed. From the present observations and those of Aaronson and Blobel (1,2), we favor the notion that threadlike intrinsic membrane components are stabilized by their attachment to the pore complexes, and perhaps also to peripheral nuclear structures,and constitute a detergent-resistant, interpore skeleton meshwork.

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