Worm Breeder's Gazette 15(3): 19 (June 1, 1998)

These abstracts should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.

Different patterns of mitochondrial redistribution in early C. elegans and Acrobeloides sp. PS1146 embryos.

Ananth Badrinath, John White

University of Wisconsin, 425 Henry Mall Rm. 5350, Madison, WI 53706

        The redistribution of mitochondria in the period following
fertilization through the first cell division was followed in the early
embryos of two related nematodes, Caenorhabditis elegans and
Acrobeloides sp. PS1146, using a combination of vital staining with a
mitochondrial-specific dye Rhodamine 6G, and confocal laser-scanning
        In C. elegans embryos mitochondria are part of the same bulk
flow directed toward the sperm pronucleus that has been implicated in
generating the initial A-P axis asymmetry (Strome, S. And Wood, W.B. 
Cell 35, 15-25 (1983); Hird, S.N. And White, J.G. J. Cell Biology 121,
1343 1355 (1993)).  Concomitant with these flows, during the period of
cytoplasmic rearrangement known as !pseudocleavage!, most of the
cortical mitochondria are found only in the posterior, and following the
first cell division the posterior blastomere P1 inherits roughly twenty
per cent more mitochondria than its anterior sister AB.  This
redistribution does not require the presence of either an anterior actin
cap or a pseudocleavage since the same pattern was observed in nop-1
mutant embryos in which these structures are missing.  
        In contrast, in Acrobeloides sp. PS1146 embryos the sperm
pronucleus does not direct any cytoplasmic rearrangements, and the
P-granules are segregated differently.  During pronuclear migration they
do not become asymmetrically distributed.  Most are on the surface of
the pronuclei, and the rest are loosely distributed throughout the
cytoplasm.  During metaphase most of the P-granules are situated around
the chromosomes, and by anaphase they redistribute primarily around one
of the two microtubule asters (Goldstein, B. et al., Current Biology
8(5): 303. 1998 Feb 26).  We found that during pronuclear migration the
mitochondria are either around the pronuclei or distributed throughout
the cytoplasm, and following the formation of the first spindle they are
seen to translocate in radial paths toward the aster centers.  This
probably indicates transport along astral microtubules mediated by
minus-end directed motors.
        Comparing the two species studied we find that the pattern of
redistribution of mitochondria correlates closely with that of the