The short-term incorporation of tritiated thymidine into the cytoplasm of cells undergoing oogenesis was investigated in Pteridium aquilinum using electron-microscope autoradiography.

There was substantial uptake into the central cell and egg cell during the 6-h labelling period. The quantity and distribution of the label incorporated into the cytoplasm were closely similar in cells fixed immediately after the labelling period and in those immersed for a further 18 h in unlabelled thymidine. This suggested that incorporation was into a stable molecule, with little nucleoside turnover and no subsequent migration within the cytoplasm. Enzyme studies indicated that the tritiated thymidine was incorporated almost entirely into DNA, most probably the DNA undergoing replication.

Within the cytoplasm the label was markedly and consistently concentrated in plastids and mitochondria. This localization was not, however, complete and 5-40% was attributable to sites in the ground cytoplasm.

A gradient of incorporated label was demonstrated within the cytoplasm in both central cells and egg cells. Concentration was high adjacent to the nucleus and low at the cell periphery. This gradient could be satisfactorily explained by the distribution of the plastids and mitochondria within the cytoplasm, the labelling of the organelles being irrespective of their position. The results of statistical examination of the frequencies of the silver grains associated with the mitochondria and plastids were considered to indicate general uptake of label directly into the DNA of these organelles without nuclear participation.

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