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J Cell Biol. 1963 Dec;19:593-611.

INTRAMITOCHONDRIAL FIBERS WITH DNA CHARACTERISTICS. I. FIXATION AND ELECTRON STAINING REACTIONS.

Abstract

Chick embryo mitochondria, studied with the electron microscope, show crista-free areas of low electron opacity. These areas are observable after fixation with osmium tetroxide, calcium permanganate, potassium permanganate, formaldehyde, acrolein, acrolein followed by osmium tetroxide, uranyl acetate followed by calcium permanganate, and acetic acid-alcohol. Staining of sections with lead hydroxide or uranyl acetate, or with both, resulted in an increased density of a fibrous material within these areas. The appearance of the fibrous structures varied with the fixative employed; after fixation with osmium tetroxide the material was clumped and bar-like (up to 400 A in diameter), whereas after treatment of osmium tetroxide-fixed tissues with uranyl acetate before dehydration the fibrous structures could be visualized as 15 to 30 A fibrils. Treatment with ethylenediaminetetraacetate (EDTA) in place of uranyl acetate coarsened the mitochondrial fibrils. After fixation with calcium permanganate or potassium permanganate, or a double fixation by uranyl acetate followed by calcium permanganate, the fibers appeared to have a pattern and ultrastructure similar to that observed after the osmium tetroxide-uranyl acetate technique, except that some of them had a slightly greater diameter (up to 50 A). Other fixatives did not preserve the fibers so well. The fibers appeared strongly clumped by formaldehyde fixation, and were difficult to identify after fixation with acrolein or acetic acid-alcohol. The staining of nucleic acid-containing structures by uranyl acetate and lead hydroxide was improved by treatment of osmium tetroxide-fixed sections with hydrogen peroxide, and the mitochondrial fibers also had an increased density in the electron beam after this procedure. The staining characteristics suggest the fibrous material of chick embryo mitochondria to be a nucleic acid-containing structure, and its variable appearance after different fixations parallels that previously reported, or described in this paper, for the nucleoplasm of bacteria and blue-green algae. The results, in addition to those described in the accompanying communication, indicate that these mitochondria contain DNA.

PMID:
14086138
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2106331
Free PMC Article
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