Using monoclonal antibodies, we followed the fate of three different nuclear envelope proteins during mitosis in Drosophila early embryos by indirect immunofluorescence microscopy. Two of these proteins, lamin and otefin, a newly characterized nuclear envelope polypeptide with an apparent Mr of 53,000, are apparently present in an envelope-like structure that is present throughout mitosis. Immunoelectron microscopy of interphase nuclei indicates that otefin, like lamin, is not a component of nuclear pore complexes. In contrast with lamin and otefin, gp188, a putative pore complex component, was completely redistributed through the surrounding cytoplasm during prophase in comparable early embryo specimens and was present in an envelope only in interphase. Together with previous morphological studies by other workers, these data suggest that the entire mitotic apparatus including condensed chromosomes and spindle is enclosed by an envelope throughout mitosis during early embryogenesis in Drosophila. This ‘spindle envelope’, as it has been named by others, contains both lamin and otefin but probably not pore complex proteins.

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