Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The preferential development of giant mitochondria and their nuclei (nucleoids) in the egg cells ofPelargonium zonale Ait. during megasporogenesis and megagametogenesis was examined by fluorescence microscopy, after Technovit embedding and 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining, fluorimetry for DNA content, using a video-intensified microscope photon-counting system (VIMPICS), and by three-dimensional reconstruction of mitochondrial nuclei (mt-nuclei). Reproductive cells during the megaspore mother cell, meiosis, tetrad, and functioning megaspore stages contained many small mitochondria with characteristic, uniformly DAPI-stained mt-nuclei about 0.3 μm in diameter, containing a small amount of DNA (0.3 Mbp). During formation of the 2-, 4-, and 8-nucleate embryo sac, mt-nuclei did not markedly change in shape or DNA content. When the embryo sac formed and differentiation of each cell began, mitochondria and their nuclei in the egg cell took on a small ring or string-like shape. Accompanying the maturation of the embryo sac, they underwent progressive enlargement and gradually altered to long thick strings, or stacks of concentric or half concentric rings. By flower opening, they have developed to an extremely large size. One of these stacks of mt-nuclei was reconstructed in three dimensions; each ring in the stack was cup- or plate-shaped; 5 to 10 rings made up the stack, though each remained discontinuous from the others. From serial sections, we counted 44 mitochondria in one egg cell. Fluorometry using VIMPICS revealed that DNA amount within the stacked mitochondrion increased to 40 times that of the megaspore mother cell stage; a single stack of mitochondria contained 340–1700 Mbp DNA; which means that one egg cell contains at least 15000 Mbp mt-DNA, a value greater than the cell-nuclear DNA content.
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