In vitro myogenesis involves a dramatic reorganization of the microtubular network, characterized principally by the relocalization of microtubule nucleating sites at the surface of the nuclei in myotubes, in marked contrast with the classical pericentriolar localization observed in myoblasts (Tassin, A. M., B. Maro, and M. Bornens, 1985, J. Cell Biol., 100:35-46). Since a spatial relationship between the Golgi apparatus and the centrosome is observed in most animal cells, we have decided to follow the fate of the Golgi apparatus during myogenesis by an immunocytochemical approach, using wheat germ agglutinin and an affinity-purified anti-galactosyltransferase. We show that Golgi apparatus in myotubes displays a perinuclear distribution which is strikingly different from the polarized juxtanuclear organization observed in myoblasts. As a result, the Golgi apparatus in myotubes is situated close to the microtubule organizing center (MTOC), the cis-side being situated at a fixed distance from the nuclear envelope, a situation which suggests the existence of a structural association between the Golgi apparatus and the nuclear periphery. This is supported by experiments of microtubule depolymerization by nocodazole, in which a minimal effect was observed on Golgi apparatus localization in myotubes in contrast with the dramatic scattering observed in myoblasts. In both cell types, electron microscopy reveals that microtubule disruption generates individual dictyosomes; this suggests that the connecting structures between dictyosomes are principally affected. This structural dependency of the Golgi apparatus upon microtubules is not apparently accompanied by a reverse dependency of MTOC structure or function upon Golgi apparatus activity. Golgi apparatus modification by monensin, as effective in myotubes as in myoblasts, is without apparent effect on MTOC localization or activity and on microtubule stability. The main result of our study is to show that in a cell type where the MTOC is dissociated from centrioles and where antero-posterior polarity has disappeared, the association between the Golgi apparatus and the MTOC is maintained. The significance of such a tight association is discussed.

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