Rabbit antibodies against actin and tubulin were used in an indirect immunofluorescence study of the structure of the mitotic spindle of PtK1 cells after lysis under conditions that preserve anaphase chromosome movement. During early prophase there is no antiactin staining associated with the mitotic centers, but by late prophase, as the spindle is beginning to form, a small ball of actin antigenicity is found beside the nucleus; After nuclear envelope breakdown, the actiactin stains the region around each mitotic center, and becomes organized into fibers that run between the chromosomes and the poles. Colchicine blocks this organization, but does not disrupt the staining at the poles. At metaphase the antiactin reveals a halo of ill-defined radius around each spindle pole and fibers that run from the poles to the metaphase plate. Antitubulin shows astral rays, fibers running from chromosomes to poles, and some fibers that run across the metaphase plate. At anaphase, there is a shortening of the antiactin-stained fibers, leaving a zone which is essentially free of actin-staining fluorescence between the separating chromosomes. Antitubulin stains the region between chromosomes and poles, but also reveals substantial fibers running through the zone between separating chromosomes. Cells fixed during cytokinesis show actin in the region of the cleavage furrow, while antitubulin reveals the fibrous spindle remnant that runs between daughter cells. These results suggest that actin is a component of the mammalian mitotic spindle, that the distribution of actin differs from that of tubulin and that the distributions of these two fibrous proteins change in different ways during anaphase.

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