Syndinium and related organisms which parasitize a number of invertebrates have been classified with dinoflagellates on the basis of the morphology of their zoospores. We demonstrate here that with respect to chromosome structure and chemistry as well as nuclear division, they differ fundamentally from free-living dinoflagellates. Alkaline fast green staining indicates the presence of basic proteins in Syndinium chromosomes. Chromatin fibers are about 30 Å thick and do not show the arrangement characteristic of dinoflagellate chromosomes. The four V-shaped chromosomes are permanently attached at their apexes to a specific area of the nuclear membrane through a kinetochore-like trilaminar disk inserted into an opening of the membrane. Microtubules connect the outer dense layer of each kinetochore to the bases of the two centrioles located in a pocket-shaped invagination of the nuclear envelope. During division kinetochores duplicate, and each sister kinetochore becomes attached to a different centriole. As the centrioles move apart, apparently pushed by a bundle of elongating microtubules (central spindle), the daughter chromosomes are passively pulled apart. During the process of elongation of the central spindle, the cytoplasmic groove on the nuclear surface which contains the central spindle sinks into the nuclear space and is transformed into a cylindrical cytoplasmic channel. A constriction in the persisting nuclear envelope leads to the formation of two daughter nuclei.

This content is only available as a PDF.