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Cell. 1977 Oct;12(2):333-9.

Phagokinetic tracks of 3T3 cells: parallels between the orientation of track segments and of cellular structures which contain actin or tubulin.


Phagokinetic tracks were used to determine the current direction of migration in 3T3 cells. Comparing this direction with the orientation of actin or tubulin-containing cellular structures by indirect immunofluorescence, the following results were obtained. First, the main actin-containing bundles were located at the bottom and tail end of 3T3 cells and ran parallel to the current or preceding direction of migration. Second, the 3 micrometer long rod-like structure (primary cilium), which contains tubulin and which has been observed by other investigators in transmission electron microscopy (Barnes, 1961; Sorokin, 1962; Wheatley, 1969) and in indirect immunofluorescence (Osborn and Weber, 1976), was oriented predominantly parallel to the substrate and to the current movement direction. It seems possible that the primary cilium has a role in the directional control of a migrating 3T3 cell, and that the main actin containing bundles act as substrate-attached rails along which the nucleus and bulk cytoplasm slide during displacement of the cells.

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