The mitotic apparatus (MA) of the giant ameba, Chaos carolinensis, has characteristic sequences of microtubule arrays and deployment of nuclear envelope fragments. If mitotic organisms are subjected to 2°C for 5 min, the MA microtubules are completely degraded, and the envelope fragments are released from the chromosomes which remain condensed but lose their metaphase-plate orientation. On warming, microtubules reform but show partial loss of their parallel alignment; displacement of the envelope fragments persists or is increased by microtubule reformation. This study demonstrates that cooling causes destruction of microtubules and intermicrotubular cross-bonds and further shows that such controlled dissolution and reformation can provide an in vivo test sequence for studies on the effects of inhibitor-compounds on microtubule subunit aggregation. Urea, at the comparatively low concentration of 0.8 M, inhibited reformation following cooling and rewarming but was ineffective in altering microtubules that had formed before treatment.

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