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Locomotion of Xenopus epidermis cells in primary culture

By J. Bereiter-Hahn, R. Strohmeier, I. Kunzenbacher, Konrad Beck and M. Vöth

Abstract

The locomotion of single epidermis cells, grown out from Xenopus laevis tadpole tails has been investigated by time-lapse cinemicrography using phase-contrast and reflection-contrast optics. The cells develop a large, mostly 200-250 nm thick, lamella, which adheres homogeneously to the supporting coverglass and exceeds the projection area of the cell body. From the comparison of RIC-pictures taken at high (1.06) and low (0.62) numerical aperture of illumination (I.N.A.) we deduce that at low I.N.A. the embossment of the medium-facing side of the lamella is visualized. By this method microcolliculi are demonstrated, which form at the edge of the lamellipodium and move backward. They resemble ruffles, but are flatter and no membrane flow towards the perinuclear region is observed. Indirect immunofluorescence reveals an enhanced staining for actin and alpha-actinin in the lamellipodium and in the transition region of cell body and lamella. Tonofilaments do not participate in lamella formation, the relatively few microtubules seem to be oriented in the direction of cytoplasmic flow. Electron micrographs demonstrate the course of fibrils in the cell body and a meshwork of actin filaments and membranous tubules in the lamella. Based on these findings a model for cell locomotion is presented: the motive force is generated by the cell body causing a flow of cytoplasm towards the periphery and extension of the lamella at its edge. The activity of the lamellipodium has to ensure the flat form of the advanced edge; microcolliculi are assumed to represent a small membrane store for the extension of the lamella. The lamellipodium is not involved in the production of motive force. The cell body is anchored to the lamella by radiating fibrils and the fibrillar meshwork is inserted at the 'dorsal' membrane of the lamella and the basal filament cortex of the cell body. This anchorage provides the structural basis for the uptake of lamella material into the cell body in the transition region

Topics: QD, QH301
Publisher: Company of Biologists
Year: 1981
OAI identifier: oai:http://orca.cf.ac.uk:16294
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