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Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.
Interphase nucleus and cytoplasm are distinct compartments, whose soluble macromolecular contents mix when the nuclear envelope disassembles at mitosis. To determine how their interphase identities are reestablished, fibroblasts were loaded with fluorescent dextrans and then allowed to divide. Large dextrans (molecular weight of 40,000 or more) were excluded from condensed mitotic chromosomes and from newly formed, postmitotic interphase nuclei. Therefore, postmitotic reassembly of the nucleus as a compartment distinct from cytoplasm occurs by exclusion not only of organelles but also of soluble macromolecules. This might occur by exclusion of macromolecules from condensed chromatin throughout mitosis and completion of nuclear envelope assembly before nuclear expansion.