An immunocytochemical method using a specific antibody was employed to detect the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in Drosophila embryos during the first 13 nuclear division cycles. Strong nuclear staining with the anti-PCNA antibody was observed at interphase throughout 13 cycles. Metaphase chromosomes were not stained throughout these cycles. The chromosomal (nuclear) staining reappeared at anaphase until cycle 10 and at telophase in cycle 11. During cycles 12 and 13, nuclear staining was detected exclusively at interphase. Relatively uniform staining of syncytial cytoplasm was observed throughout mitotic phases until cycle 9. In the following cycles, strong staining in both the central yolk mass and the cortical layer of cytoplasm was detected at metaphase and telophase. During interphase of cycles later than the 9th, staining in the central yolk mass got much fainter and that in the cortical cytoplasm completely disappeared. These results suggest that the PCNA dissociates from chromosomes at metaphase; then in later mitotic phases, it is transported from the syncytial cytoplasm into nuclei to participate in formation of the active DNA-replication enzyme complexes.

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