Interphase nucleoli from Vicia faba and Allium cepa meristematic cells are roughly classified into two categories: (a) those that commonly show a rather homogeneous texture (except for small light spaces of various sizes) and frequently contain dense particles 140 A in diameter; (b) those found more frequently in Vicia characterized by a very sharp boundary between a dense outer cortex and a much lighter central core. The dense particles are not found in such nucleoli. In Allium the boundary is more irregular and dense particles are sometimes observed in the outer layer. Many nucleoli show a structure intermediate between these two types. They are characterized by a gradient of increasing density from the center to the periphery and occasionally contain dense 140 A granules.
During interphase, certain nucleoli are closely associated with segments of chromatin strands which undoubtedly represent nucleolar organizing regions.
The dense 140 A granules are followed during the mitotic cycle. In Allium, they are first seen in loose clusters between arms of late anaphase chromosomes where they become more concentrated in early telophase. The substance within which they are scattered slowly increases in density during that time until finally, the particles are limited to small bodies of distinctive character. Evidence is presented suggesting that these small prenucleolar bodies fuse during telophase to give rise to the mature interphase nucleoli.
Similar events are described in Vicia material except that a coating of dense substance appears around telophase chromosomes before the formation of prenucleolar bodies.