In order to develop a method for obtaining mitotic synchrony in aspergillus nidulans, we have characterized previously isolated heat-sensitive nim mutations that block the nuclear division cycle in interphase at restrictive temperature. After 3.5 h at restrictive temperature the mitotic index of a strain carrying one of these mutations, nimA5, was 0, but when this strain was subsequently shifted from restrictive to permissive temperature the mitotic index increased rapidly, reaching a maximum of 78 percent after 7.5 min. When this strain was examined electron-microscopically, mitotic spindles were absent at restrictive temperature. From these data we conclude that at restrictive temperature nimA5 blocks the nuclear division cycle at a point immediately preceding the initiation of chromosomal condensation and mitotic microtubule assembly, and upon shifting to permissive control over the initiation of microtubule assembly and chromosomal condensation in vivo through a simple temperature shift and, consequently, nimA5 should be a powerful tool for studying these processes. Electron-microscopic examination of spindles of material synchronized in this manner reveals that spindle formation, although very rapid, is gradual in the sense that spindle microtubule numbers increase as spindle formation proceeds.

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