Sep 26, 1977

An electron microscopic investigation of the surface coat of the electrocyte of electrophorus electricus

Cell and Tissue Research
M BenchimolR D Machado


The surface coat of the electrocyte of the main electric organ of Electrophorus electricus was studied using cytochemical methods (periodic acid-silver methanamine, periodic acid-chromic acid-silver methenamine, periodic acid-thiosemicarbazide-silver proteinate, Concanavalin A - horseradish peroxidase, ruthenium red, Alcian-blue lanthanum nitrate, colloidal iron hydroxide and cationized ferritin). The surface of the electrocyte presents perpendicularly oriented tubular invaginations of the cell membrane. The fibrous coat 50-100 nm thick, penetrates into the lumen of the invaginations. It is also observed in the synaptic clefts existent in the posterior face of the electrolyte. The coating of the surface membrane gives a positive reaction with all techniques used. Binding of colloidal iron hydroxide particles was observed only in the outer layer of the coat. With the Alcian-blue lanthanum nitrate technique , microtubules were observed in the cytoplasm of the electrocyte. The results indicate that the surface coat of the electrocyte contains mucopolysaccharides, glycoproteins, acid mucopolysaccharides and anionic sites detected at low (colloidal iron hydroxyde) and neutral (cationized ferritin) pH.

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Mucopolysaccharides Acid Test; Quantitative
Entire Lumen of Body System
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