The mitotic figures in dividing cells of sea urchin embryos, from first division to the onset of cilia formation, were studied with regard to the filament system and its relation to kinetochores, chromosomes, and poles, as well as to fixation conditions which would best preserve these structures. With regard to fixation, variations in the salt concentration and pH of the fixative indicated that an extraction effect on the chromosomes noted in earlier work was probably due to a combination of neutral pH and salt concentration equivalent to sea water. The presence of the 15 mµ filaments depended on the presence of either of two stabilizing conditions: pH 6.1 or presence of the salts of sea water, presumably the divalent cations of Ca and Mg. Kinetochores and centrioles were unaffected by the fixative variations. The 15 mµ filaments, reported earlier in the central spindle, are also found in great numbers in the asters of early cleavage divisions. However, with successive divisions and reduction in cell size, the aster disappears at about the 32 to 64 cell stage, and the 15 mµ filaments are entirely associated with the central spindle. This disappearance of the aster suggests that it may be, in fact, merely a specialization of large cells for cytokinesis.

This content is only available as a PDF.