The localization and migration of centriole duplexes have been studied in PtK2 cells by indirect immunofluorescence microscopy using specific tubulin antibodies. The study demonstrated the usefulness of the immunofluorescence technique to quantitate studies of centriole migration and concomitant events such as cytoplasmic microtubule breakdown in large populations of cells. Centriole duplex locations in normal and Colcemid-treated interphase populations have been compared with duplex locations in prophase cells. A higher percentage of duplexes were found close to the nucleus in prophase than in interphase cells, but approximately 5% of the duplexes remained in the cytoplasm far removed from the nucleus in prophase and throughout the course of duplex separation. Duplex separation occurred along a wide variety of paths and duplexes did not have to be closely juxtaposed to the nuclear envelope for separation to occur. Some duplexes separated in the cytoplasm with no detectable nuclear attachment, with spindles forming far to the side of the condensing chromosomes. The timing of duplex separation did not always coincide either with chromosome condensation or with nuclear membrane breakdown, and in a small percentage of the cells separation occurred as late as prometaphase. These data suggest that normal spindle formation can occur despite the large variability in initial and final centriole duplex location, their migration patterns, and the timing of the different events. Breakdown of cytoplasmic microtubules began in prophase and progressed until prometaphase; the last cytoplasmic microtubules disappeared soon after the loss of the nuclear membrane.

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