Single (individual) bivalents in cultured Drosophila melanogaster primary spermatocytes were detached from the spindle with a micromanipulation needle and placed in the cytoplasm. Such bivalents are prevented from rejoining the spindle by a natural membrane barrier that surrounds the spindle, but they quickly orient as if on a spindle of their own and the half-bivalents separate in anaphase. Serial section electron microscopy shows that a mini-spindle forms around the cytoplasmic bivalent, i.e., the microtubule density in the vicinity of the bivalent is much greater than in other cytoplasmic regions. This microtubule population cannot be accounted for solely by kinetochore nucleation and/or capture of microtubules. Furthermore, the mini-spindles frequently form at odd angles to the main spindle, so that at least one pole has no relationship to the poles of the main spindle. We conclude that a bivalent, or factors that become associated with the bivalent as a result of the manipulation, can either stabilize microtubules or promote their assembly. The bivalent activates latent microtubule organizing centers, or alternatively, polar organizing material has been passively transported from the main spindle to the cytoplasm by the micromanipulation procedure.

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