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FEBS Lett. 2005 Mar 28;579(9):2001-8.

Actin microridges characterized by laser scanning confocal and atomic force microscopy.

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BIOTEC and Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, 01307 Dresden, Germany.


We have characterized the cell surface of zebrafish stratified epithelium using a combined approach of light and atomic force microscopy under conditions which simulate wound healing. Microridges rise on average 100 nm above the surface of living epithelial cells, which correlate to bundles of cytochalasin B-insensitive actin filaments. Time-lapse microscopy revealed the bundles to form a highly dynamic network on the cell surface, in which bundles and junctions were severed and annealed on a time scale of minutes. Atomic force microscopy topographs further indicated that actin bundle junctions identified were of two types: overlaps and integrated end to side T- and Y-junctions. The surface bundle network is found only on the topmost cell layer of the explant, and never on individual locomoting cells. Possible functions of these actin bundles include cell compartmentalization of the cell surface, resistance to mechanical stress, and F-actin storage.

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