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Arrangement of actin filaments and myosin-like filaments in the contractile ring and of actin-like filaments in the mitotic spindle of dividing HeLa cells


Arrangement of actin filaments and myosin-like filaments in the contractile ring and of actin-like filaments in the mitotic spindle of dividing HeLa cells



Journal of Ultrastructure and Molecular Structure Research 94(1): 92-103



ISSN/ISBN: 0889-1605

PMID: 3772181

DOI: 10.1016/0889-1605(86)90055-8

We used a glutaraldehyde-tannic acid-saponin fixative to improve the preservation of actin filaments in dividing HeLa cells during preparation for thin sectioning. The contractile ring in the cleavage furrow is composed of a parallel array of actin filaments that circle the equator. We show that many of these actin filaments are arranged in small bundles. These bundles consist of about 25 filaments throughout cytokinesis. For comparison, filopodia on these cells have about 23 actin filaments packed at a higher density than the filaments in the contractile ring bundles. Some of the contractile ring actin filaments appear to radiate out from electron-dense sites on the plasma membrane. The contractile ring also has a large number of short filaments 13 nm in diameter that closely resemble filaments formed from purified human cytoplasmic myosin. These thick filaments are aligned circumferentially and interdigitate with the actin filaments, as expected for a sliding filament mechanism of tension generation. There are no long actin filaments in the mitotic spindle, but there are a large number (400 to 1000 per micron 3) of very short filaments identical in appearance to actin filaments in other parts of these cells. These short filaments may account for the reported staining of the mitotic spindle with fluorescent antibodies to actin and with fluorescent myosin fragments.

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Accession: 039320792

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