Under the influence of Colcemid, a substantial number of binucleate human cells from a line infected with herpes-like virus was found to possess pulverized chromosomes. Although this abnormality was also detected in untreated binucleate cells, the increase in the number of pulverized cells after the addition of Colcemid was too striking to be explained by accumulation of spontaneously occurring cells in response to the mitotic inhibition by Colcemid. Furthermore, the induction of pulverization may be dependent upon Colcemid concentration. These findings imply an involvement of Colcemid in the mechanism of pulverization induction in the system studied. When tritiated thymidine was added to the culture medium simultaneously with Colcemid, the majority of binucleate cells with an intact and a pulverized chromosome set incorporated this isotope into the pulverized set only. This obviously suggests that the nuclei in the binucleate cell are asynchronous in DNA synthesis, and that this asynchrony is intimately related to the induction of the pulverization phenomenon. It seems very probable that the late S phase in the late synthesizing nuclei represents a critical stage at which damage to the chromosomes most readily occurs.

This content is only available as a PDF.