Meiotic Structures in the Animal-Parasitic Nematode Ascaris megalocephala: Synaptonemal Complexes, Recombination Nodules, and Centrioles


  • J. Merlin
  • A. Goldstein
  • P. Goldstein


ascaris megalocephala, centriole, nematode, polycomplex, recombination nodule, synaptonemal complex


Two synaptonemal complexes (SCs) were present in the pachytene nuclei of Ascaris megalocephala. The SC was tripartite and comprised of two lateral elements (25 nm) with a striated central element (25 nm) and a central region of 65 nm. Spherical recombination nodules were observed to be associated only with the central element, although they are non-existent in the related A. lumbricoides var. suum (Goldstein, 1977). The SCs were attached to the nuclear envelope at only one end, while the other end was free in the nucleoplasm. This lack of bouquet formation of the chromosomes is consistent with all other nematodes studied. Morphologically distinct sex chromosomes were not observed, which differs from the presence of five Y-chromosomes present in A. lumbricoides var. suum (Goldstein and Moens, 1976). Centrioles (0.2 µm wide) reproduced by budding off the parental centriole. The centrioles consisted of nine singlet microtubules connected by an electron-dense proteinaceous ring. This structure is consistent with centrioles described in other nematodes, yet distinctly different from the centriole structure observed in most organisms in which it consists of nine triplet microtubules without any connecting ring. Multiple synaptonemal complexes, or polycomplexes, are found in A. megalocephala and A. lumbriocoides var. suum. They appear as stacked SC and are present inside the nucleus during zygotene and in the cytoplasm at pachytene.