Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 227, Issue 3, pp 609–617 | Cite as

The nature of the clear zone around microtubules

  • Howard Stebbings
  • Cherryl Hunt


The clear zones seen around microtubules in transverse sections of nutritive tubes vary in size depending on whether a microtubule is bordered by ribosomes or by another microtubule. We consider that such a finding is not consistent with the current view, that the clear zone is maintained by microtubule-associated material. It can, however, be accounted for by an electrostatic repulsion between the surfaces of negatively charged microtubules and between microtubules and ribosomes which are also negatively charged. The experiments presented here, involving on the one hand the addition of cationic substances to microtubules and on the other the alteration in charge of the microtubules, support this hypothesis.

Key words

Microtubules Clear zones Cations 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard Stebbings
    • 1
  • Cherryl Hunt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of ExeterExeterUK

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