The architecture of the nucleolus in Allium porum and Triticum vulgare meristematic cells has been investigated by means of digestions with various enzymes. After staining with azure B at pH4, plant nucleoli exhibit lighter regions which, under electron microscopy, correspond to the fibrillar zones characterizing these organelles. Evidence is presented indicating that these latter zones contain coarse convoluted filaments quite similar to the loops first demonstrated by La Cour (24) and which are assumed to originate from the nucleolar-organizing chromosomes. These coarse, 0.2µ wide filaments are remarkably resistant to the action of deoxyribonuclease, ribonuclease, pepsin, trypsin, or of various combinations of these enzymes and, moreover, they show insignificant incorporation of labeled thymidine even after long exposure to this DNA precursor. The clearing action of pepsin on different regions of the nucleolus lends support to the hypothesis that an amorphous material or matrix pervades the mass of this organelle. This effect is particularly striking within the particulate nucleolar zones themselves. Both ribonuclease and trypsin disorganize the RNP (ribonucleoprotein) nucleolar particles. The effect of the latter enzyme on the RNP particles is taken to indicate that they contain proteins particularly susceptible to trypsin which are essential for maintenance of their morphological integrity. Trypsin also interferes with azure B-staining of the nucleolar mass as a whole and, according to radioautographic data, extracts RNA throughout this organelle. Accordingly, the hypothesis is considered that RNA is complexed with proteins not only within the particulate nucleolar portions, as is already well known, but also in the fibrillar zones.

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