Conjugant pairs of Tetrahymena thermophila were mechanically separated by vigorous pipetting at the early stages of meiotic prophase. The complete sequence of conjugational nuclear events including the appearance of pronuclei, development of the new macronuclei (postzygotic development), and resorption of the old macronuclei was observed in the separated cells, without pronuclear exchange. The pronuclei in the separated cells were recognised by the presence of components of the extranuclear cytoskeleton, which were labelled with anti-tubulin and anti-fenestrin antibodies in the same way as in undisturbed conjugants. The apical region of the separated conjugants (the post-junction area), corresponding to the junction area of conjugants was labelled with anti-fenestrin antibody and maintained the properties required for the nuclear development. The results of the genetic study were consistent with a hypothesis that cytogamy (pronuclear fusion) was induced in the separated conjugants. Therefore, the lasting cell contact is not necessary for the successful completion of conjugational nuclear events.
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Vol. 47 • No. 2