Structures related to the germ plasm in mouse

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This report presents data from ultrastructural and morphometric studies on the germinal-body-like structures, nuage, nuage–mitochondrial clusters and chromatoid bodies in 4.5-day embryo cells and spermatogenic cells of the laboratory mouse Mus musculus. In the 4.5-day embryo cells the germinal-body-like structures that, according to previous data, arise by condensation of mitochondria in Graafian oocytes, were found not to undergo any ultrastructural alterations. In spermatogonia the germinal-body-like structures presumably were transformed into nuage that functioned as ‘intermitochondrial cement’ binding the mitochondrial clusters. In primary spermatocytes mitochondria aggregated by nuage were found with large vacuoles containing membraneous conglomerates that were obviously excreted by organelles into the cytoplasm. The chromatoid bodies that arose in spermatocytes and finally disintegrated in the posterior part of late spermatids seemed not to be implicated in the pathway of the germinal-body-like structure. The dispersion of chromatoid bodies was noted to be accompanied by excretion of membraneous conglomerates by late spermatid mitochondria. The spermatozoa were not found to contain either the germinal-body-like structures or any other germ-plasm-related structures.

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