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Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 1989;13(3):195-211.

What structures, besides adhesions, prevent spread cells from rounding up?

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Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL 60611.


The outline of cells in sparse cultures consists predominantly of concave and convex segments; straight segments are rare and ephemeral. The convex segments are areas of active cell expansion. The concave segments are stationary and web-shaped, similar in profile to the cables of a suspension bridge. In 3T3 fibroblasts, we have found a single microfilament bundle following the outline of every webbed edge and have called it the actin edge-bundle (AEB). While the AEB is composed predominantly of actin, alpha-actinin and myosin are also present. In contrast to normal stress fibers, AEBs are more resistant to several treatments that depolymerize F-actin. Once an AEB disassembles, however, the webbed edge collapses and retracts, suggesting that the actin edge-bundle is a specialized cytoskeletal structure that supports the webbed edges of interphase 3T3 fibroblasts. The stability of AEBs is independent of microtubules. We suggest that the microfilament bundles that frequently line the lateral contacts between epithelial cells in vivo may be related to the actin edge-bundle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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