The ribonucleoprotein (RNP) composition of the active Y chromosomal structures in spermatocyte nuclei of Drosophila hydei has been investigated using the anti-RNP antibodies Dm 28K2 and pp60 as a probe. Antibody Dm 28K2 was raised against an RNP protein of cytoplasmic RNP particles in D. melanogaster cells, while antibody pp60 was raised against a pre-messenger RNP fraction from oocytes of Xenopus laevis. Both antibodies detect nuclear RNP (nRNP) antigens of D. hydei. This is shown by CsCl density centrifugation of nRNP from D. hydei cells and immunoblotting across the density gradient. Dm 28K2 and pp60 recognize antigens of nRNP complexes which band at a characteristic buoyant density of approximately 1.4 g/cm3 in CsCl. By indirect immunofluorescence we observe that the nRNP complexes identified by Dm 28K2 are localized at only two of the five Y chromosomal loop structures which are named according to their distinct morphology. Dm 28K2 decorates RNPs within the "clubs," within the cones, and within the matrix of the "pseudonucleolus." Ultrastructural bodies that are candidates for this immunoreaction are RNP granules that resemble the so-called perichromatin granules. Antibody pp60 recognizes RNP complexes close to the axes of the active Y chromatin. In the "pseudonucleolus" it can be shown that the structures recognized by pp60 are quite distinct from those detected by Dm 28K2. Thus, the "pseudonucleolus" is a striking example for the presence of different RNP populations within a same defined nuclear compartment. Together with previous results (Glätzer, K. H., 1984, Mol. Gen. Genet., 196:236-243), our data represent evidence that the morphological and apparently functional differences between the active Y chromosomal loops, which are involved in male fertility, are caused by the presence of qualitatively and possibly also functionally different RNP populations within these nuclear compartments. Because both RNP antigens are discussed in the literature in connection with repressed mRNP the observed cross-reaction of the respective antibodies in D. hydei suggests a more general and important function of these proteins in the RNA metabolism of eukaryotic cells.

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