The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 300–316 | Cite as

Electron microscopic observations of the surface of L-cells in culture

  • P. G. Price


Techniques are described for the preparation of preshadowed replicas of both the upper and lower surfaces of L-cells in culture, and of cross sections of L-cells growing on a cellophane substrate. These revealed long slender microvilli, 800 to 1,100 A in diameter, projecting from both upper and lower surfaces of the cells. These microvilli were frequently observed to contact other cells and substrate, and to leave material behind on the substrate. The plasma membrane of the lower surface was separated from the substrate by an electron-lucent gap 200 to 300 A wide. The surface coat of the L-cell was visualized by staining with colloidal iron and ruthenium. Staining with colloidal iron was most intense on the surface of the microvilli. The gap between cell and substrate was intensely stained with ruthenium red. Enzymatic digestion of living cells revealed that both trypsin and neuraminidase reduced the staining of the cell coat by colloidal iron, whereas only trypsin altered its staining with ruthenium red. After trypsin treatment, fragments of an amorphous material with the staining characteristics of the cell coat were observed between the denuded cells. Treatment with ribonuclease, chymotrypsin or hyaluronidase did not affect the staining of the cell coat.


Iron Trypsin Living Cell Human Physiology Ruthenium 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. G. Price
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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