In Chinese hamster Don cells, fusion of an interphase cell with a metaphase cell resulted either in prophasing of the interphase nucleus, including loss of the nuclear envelope (NE), or in the formation of a double membrane around the metaphase chromosomes. Only one of these phenomena occurred in a given interphase-metaphase (I–M) binucleate cell. At pH 7.4, there was about an equal probability that either event could occur amongst the population of I–M cells. The effect of pH changes in the medium containing the fused cells was examined. At pH 6.6, prophasing was the predominant event; at pH 8.0, membrane formation predominated. It was found that the rate of progression of a mononucleate cell from G2 to metaphase was appreciably faster at pH 6.6 than at pH 8.0. Conversely, the progression from metaphase to G1 was faster at pH 8.0 than at pH 6.6. These results with the mononucleate cells strengthen the hypothesis that structural changes in I–M cells are reflections of normal mitotic phenomena. Additional evidence for this hypothesis was produced by electron microscope examination after direct fixation in chrom-osmium. The double membrane around the chromosomes of the I–M cell was indistinguishable from the normal NE. The results obtained by varying the pH of the medium containing the fused cells provide an indication that disruption or formation of the NE of Don cells depends on the balance reached between disruptive and formative processes.

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