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Dev Cell. 2007 Mar;12(3):349-61.

Organization of interphase microtubules in fission yeast analyzed by electron tomography.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Cell Biology and Biophysics Program, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany.


Polarized cells, such as neuronal, epithelial, and fungal cells, all display a specialized organization of their microtubules (MTs). The interphase MT cytoskeleton of the rod-shaped fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, has been extensively described by fluorescence microscopy. Here, we describe a large-scale, electron tomography investigation of S. pombe, including a 3D reconstruction of a complete eukaryotic cell volume at sufficient resolution to show both how many MTs there are in a bundle and their detailed architecture. Most cytoplasmic MTs are open at one end and capped at the other, providing evidence about their polarity. Electron-dense bridges between the MTs themselves and between MTs and the nuclear envelope were frequently observed. Finally, we have investigated structure/function relationships between MTs and both mitochondria and vesicles. Our analysis shows that electron tomography of well-preserved cells is ideally suited for describing fine ultrastructural details that were not visible with previous techniques.

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