Potorous tridactylis (PTK2) cells growing in culture were treated with psoralen derivatives and dividing cells were located by phase-contrast microscopy. Psoralens, light-sensitive DNA-photoadducting drugs, were reacted with mitotic chromosomes through exposure to 365-nm light from an argon laser microbeam system. It was found that following mitosis and photoreaction, cells without nuclear envelopes were produced when psoralen-treated cells received 60 light pulses over their entire chromosome complement. These ‘non-nuclear membrane’ cells were found to incorporate [3H]uridine and, to a lesser extent, [3H]thymidine by autoradiography. Reduction of the light exposure by half (30 near-u.v. pulses) over the entire chromosome complement in the presence of psoralen also produced non-nuclear-membrane cells as seen by light microscopy. Further examination of these cells (30 light pulses) by single-cell electron microscopy revealed that unlike the high light exposure (60 near-u.v. pulses), the low light dosage resulted in cells with membrane patches associated with their chromatin. Since neither actinomycin D nor cycloheximide impeded nuclear envelope reformation, the psoralen-DNA reaction is concluded to produce non-nuclear-membrane cells by a mechanism other than transcription or translation inhibition. The association of Golgi with areas of nuclear membrane patches gives indirect evidence of a possible Golgi contribution to the reformation of the nuclear envelope after mitosis. It is concluded that DNA plays a role in envelope reformation.

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