PMID: 5920198Apr 1, 1966

Studies on the microtubules in heliozoa. 3. A pressure analysis of the role of these structures in the formation and maintenance of the axopodia of Actinosphaerium nucleofilum (Barrett)

The Journal of Cell Biology


Electron microscope preparations were made of specimens of Actinosphaerium nucleofilum fixed in glutaraldehyde before, during, and after exposure to high pressures (4,000 to 8,000 psi). A study of this material showed that, although other organelles were relatively stable, the microtubular elements of the axopodia and cytosome became unstable under pressure. Their rapid disintegration under pressure was correlated with beading and retraction of the axopodia. Moreover, after the release of pressure, microtubules reappeared as soon as, or sooner than the reextension of the axopodia. The rate of disintegration increased as the pressure was raised. At 4,000 psi, few if any tubules remained after 10 min, whereas at 6,000 and 8,000 psi the disintegration was much more rapid. Some adaptational reorganization of the microtubules and axopodia occurred while relatively low pressures were maintained. This was accompanied by an actual elongation of the axopodia in specimens maintained for 20 min at 4,000 psi, but was confined to knoblike axopodial remnants in animals kept at 6,000 psi. No regeneration of tubules or axopodia occurred at 8,000 psi. The presence of fibers and a finely fibrillar material in pressurized animals suggests that th...Continue Reading


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