Send to

Choose Destination
J Mol Biol. 1999 Jan 15;285(2):595-608.

Three-dimensional analysis of the 16 nm urothelial plaque particle: luminal surface exposure, preferential head-to-head interaction, and hinge formation.

Author information

National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The luminal surface of mouse urothelium in contact with the urine is almost entirely covered with plaques consisting of uroplakin-containing particles that form p6 hexagonal crystals with a center-to-center distance of 16 nm. A combination of quick-freeze/deep-etch images and our previous negative staining data indicate that the head domain of the uroplakin particle, which is exposed without an extensive glycocalyx shield, interacts closely with the head domains of the neighboring particles, while the membrane-embedded tail domains are farther apart; and that urothelial particles and plaques are not rigid structures as they can change their configuration in response to mechanical perturbations. Based on these data, we have constructed three-dimensional models depicting the structural organization of urothelial particles and plaques. Our models suggest that the head-to-head interaction may play a key role in determining the shape and size of the urothelial plaques. These models can explain many properties of urothelial plaques including their unique shape, detergent-insolubility, and morphological changes during vesicle maturation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center