The dynamic behavior of kinetochore fiber microtubules has been examined in PtK1 cells during anaphase of mitosis. Cells in anaphase were injected with biotin-tubulin and, at various intervals after injection, fixed for light or electron microscopic immunolocalization of biotin-tubulin-containing microtubules. When cells in early to mid anaphase were injected with biotin-tubulin and fixed 1-2 min later, fluorescence was observed throughout the spindle, including the region of the kinetochore fibers. Electron microscopy of early to mid anaphase cells, after processing with immunogold methods, revealed both labeled and unlabeled microtubules in the kinetochore fibers; some labeled microtubules contacted the kinetochores. When late anaphase cells were injected with biotin-tubulin, and fixed a few minutes later, little fluorescence was observed in the kinetochore fibers. Electron microscopy confirmed that kinetochore fibers in late anaphase cells were refractory to tubulin incorporation. The results of these experiments demonstrate that the kinetochore fiber incorporates new microtubules during early anaphase but that this incorporation ceases in mid to late anaphase. Thus, microtubule turnover within the kinetochore fiber does not abruptly cease at the onset of anaphase and anaphase kinetochore fiber microtubules are more dynamic than previously suspected.

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