The skeletal framework of cells at the various stages of mitosis are prepared by extraction with nonionic detergent and examined by stereoscopic whole mount electron microscopy. The insoluble filament network remaining after the detergent-extraction and the depolymerization of microtubules is shown. The nonchromatin filament network of the nucleus, or nuclear matrix, becomes visible as the chromatin condenses at prophase. Filaments are associated with the chromosomes throughout mitosis. Parts of the chromosomes are associated with or are near the nuclear lamina at early stages. The nuclear lamina disappears at metaphase while chromosomes remain associated with filaments now continuous with the cytoplasmic network. Microtubules appear to be unnecessary for maintaining the chromosome position in these preparations since comparison of cells with and without microtubules shows no gross change in chromosome arrangement. The cellular filament network at metaphase and anaphase appears continuous from the plasma lamina to the chromosomes. The filament networks visualized here may be responsible for the prometaphase chromosome movement and participate in the formation of the midbody.

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