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J Cell Biol. 1973 Nov;59(2 Pt 1):267-75.

Microtubules: evidence for 13 protofilaments.


When microtubules are fixed in glutaraldehyde in the presence of tannic acid and thin sections cut, the subunit structure of the microtubule is readily observed without the need of image reinforcement. Seven types of microtubules were analyzed: those in the heliozoan axoneme, the mitotic apparatus, the contractile axostyle, repolymerized microtubules derived from the chick brain, the central pair in flagella, and the A tubules of flagella and the basal body. In all cases microtubules were composed of 13 equally spaced protofilaments. The B tubules in flagella and the basal body appear to be composed of 11 subunits. The connections of the B to the A and the C to the B are described. A model of a microtubule is presented.

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