Studies were conducted to determine whether the microtubules present within native spindles isolated from eggs of the surf clam, Spisula solidissima, could bind dynein obtained from axonemes of Tetrahymena thermophila. SDS gel electrophoresis revealed that the high molecular weight polypeptides that make up dynein cosedimented with the isolated spindles. Moreover, the ATPase activity of dynein bound to the spindle microtubules was stimulated approximately sevenfold. The birefringence retardation of spindles incubated without dynein decreased from 1.4 nm to an undetectable level within 45 min, whereas that of spindles incubated for the same period of time with dynein was 1.0 nm, approximately 70% of its initial value, thereby indicating that dynein stabilized spindle birefringence. Ultrastructural analysis revealed that each spindle microtubule was decorated with four to seven dynein arms attached by their "B" end, that which cross-bridges the B-subfiber within native axonemes. In addition, the polarity of the spindle microtubules could be determined by the orientation of the bound dynein arms. The results of these studies suggest that the half-spindle is composed of microtubules possessing the same polarity.

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