The localization of small nuclear ribonucleic acids (snRNAs) during mitosis in Amoeba proteus was studied by high voltage (1,000 kV) electron microscope autoradiography. By suitable micromanipulations, the snRNA's, labeled with [3H]uridine, were made to be the only radioactive molecules in the cell and thus easy to follow autoradiographically. During interphase the snRNA label, which is almost exclusively nuclear, is distributed fairly uniformly through the nucleus with a slightly higher amount of label over chromatin than over nonchromatin areas. During prophase the snRNAs, which continue to be largely nuclear, become highly concentrated in the condensing chromosomes. At metapase, almost all of the snRNAs are cytoplasmic and essentially none are associated with the maximally condensed chromatin. Beginning in early anaphase, the snRNAs resume their association with the chromosomes, with the degree of association increasing throughout anaphase. Most of the snRNAs are back in the nuclei by telophase, but the intranuclear localization is hard to determine. We conclude that snRNAs have a great affinity for the partially condensed chromosomes of prophase and anaphase, but none for the maximally condensed chromosomes of metaphase. A minor amount of snRNA localizations in association with nucleoli and the nuclear envelope are also reported. On the basis of these findings a role of snRNAs in genetic "reprogramming" or chromosome organization is proposed.

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