Lead acetate (3–10%, pH between 4.3 and 7.0, alone or containing 2% glutaraldehyde), when used as fixative, has been demonstrated to produce an intracellular microcrystalline precipitate of lead orthophosphate, Pb5(PO4)3OH (lead hydroxyapatite). This confirms earlier work with the light microscope (6). In interphase cells the nucleoli are sharply delimited by the massive lead phosphate precipitate. Some diffuse precipitate is found in the nucleoplasm; it is always delimited by the nuclear membrane. Nucleolar localization of this orthophosphate pool is not a diffusion artifact; the pool is probably in a loosely bound state and is not retained by conventional fixatives. In maize root cells in advanced mitotic stages the lead phosphate crystals are seen distributed throughout the cytoplasm and also relatively concentrated on the late anaphase-early telophase chromosomes. This pool of inorganic phosphate anions may be involved in the mitotic cycle of chromatin condensation, and it may be partially responsible for the absence of mature ribosomes in the nucleolus through the chelation of divalent cations. It is evident that the siver-reducing component detected in the nucleoli of fixed cells (6) is a completely different substance.

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