Cycloheximide (500 micrograms/ml) rapidly arrests cleavage, spindle assembly, and cycles of an M-phase-specific histone kinase in early Xenopus blastulae. 2 h after cycloheximide addition, most cells contained two microtubule asters radiating from perinuclear microtubule organizing centers (MTOCs). In contrast, blastomeres treated with cycloheximide for longer periods (3-6 h) contained numerous microtubule asters and MTOCs. Immunofluorescence with an anticentrosome serum and EM demonstrated that the MTOCs in cycloheximide-treated cells were typical centrosomes, containing centrioles and pericentriolar material. We conclude that centrosome duplication continues in cycloheximide-treated Xenopus blastulae in the absence of a detectable cell cycle. In addition, these observations suggest that Xenopus embryos contain sufficient material to assemble 1,000-2,000 centrosomes in the absence of normal protein synthesis.

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