Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 253, Issue 3, pp 597–607

Cytoskeletal organization and collagen orientation in the fish scales


  • L. Zylberberg
    • Laboratoire d'Anatomie Comparée, Equipe de recherche “Formations squelettiques” (CNRS UA 041137)Université Paris VII
  • J. Bereiter-Hahn
    • Fachbereich Biologie, Arbeitskreis Kinematische ZellforschungJ.W. Goethe Universität
  • J. -Y. Sire
    • Fachbereich Biologie, Arbeitskreis Kinematische ZellforschungJ.W. Goethe Universität

DOI: 10.1007/BF00219750

Cite this article as:
Zylberberg, L., Bereiter-Hahn, J. & Sire, J.-. Cell Tissue Res. (1988) 253: 597. doi:10.1007/BF00219750


Immunofluorescence and electron microscopy were used to analyze the relationships between the organization of collagen fibrils in elasmoid scales, and the orientation of microtubules and actin microfilaments in the scleroblasts producing this collagenous stroma. Attention was focused on the basal plate of the scales because of the highly ordered three-dimensional arrangement of the collagen fibrils in superimposed plies forming an acellular plywood-like structure. The collagen fibrils are synthesized by the scleroblasts forming a monolayered pseudo-epithelium, the hyposquama, at the lowest surface of the scale. Fully developed scales with a low collagen deposition rate were compared with regenerating scales active in fibrillogenesis. When an ordered array of the collagen fibrils is found, the innermost collagen fibrils are coaligned with microtubules and actin microfilaments. Thus, because of this coalignment, microtubules and actin microfilaments of the hyposquamal scleroblasts are subjected to consecutive alterations during the formation of the plies of the basal plate. The sequence of events when the collagen fibrils change their direction from one ply to the other in the basal plate is deduced from immunofluorescence and phase-contrast-microscopic observations. During the formation of the orthogonal plywood-like structure in the regenerating scales, first microtubules may change their curse with a rotating angle of about 90°; then, actin microfilaments are disorganized and reorganized by interacting mechanically with the microtubules with which they are coaligned. Collagen fibrils are synthesized in a direction that is roughly perpendicular to that of the preceding ply. The unknown signals inducing the change in direction of the cytoskeleton may be transmitted throughout the hyposquama via gap junctions.

Key words

Collagen orientationElasmoid scalesMicrofilamentsMicrotubulesRegenerationTeleostei (Carassius auratus, Hemichromis bimaculatus, Poecilia reticulata)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988