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A Nuclear Protein Involved in Apoptotic-like DNA Degradation in Stylonychia: Implications for Similar Mechanisms in Differentiating and Starved Cells

By Christian Maercker, Heike Kortwig, Mikhail A. Nikiforov, C. David Allis and Hans J. Lipps


Ciliates are unicellular eukaryotic organisms containing two types of nuclei: macronuclei and micronuclei. After the sexual pathway takes place, a new macronucleus is formed from a zygote nucleus, whereas the old macronucleus is degraded and resorbed. In the course of macronuclear differentiation, polytene chromosomes are synthesized that become degraded again after some hours. Most of the DNA is eliminated, and the remaining DNA is fragmented into small DNA molecules that are amplified to a high copy number in the new macronucleus. The protein Pdd1p (programmed DNA degradation protein 1) from Tetrahymena has been shown to be present in macronuclear anlagen in the DNA degradation stage and also in the old macronuclei, which are resorbed during the formation of the new macronucleus. In this study the identification and localization of a Pdd1p homologous protein in Stylonychia (Spdd1p) is described. Spdd1p is localized in the precursor nuclei in the DNA elimination stage and in the old macronuclei during their degradation, but also in macronuclei and micronuclei of starved cells. In all of these nuclei, apoptotic-like DNA breakdown was detected. These data suggest that Spdd1p is a general factor involved in programmed DNA degradation in Stylonychia

Topics: Article
Publisher: The American Society for Cell Biology
Year: 1999
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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