Electron-microscopic study of the apical region of the toad bladder epithelial cell

J. Sasaki, S. Tilles, J. Condeelis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) promotes fusion of cytoplasmic tubules with the luminal membrane and delivery of particles from the tubules to the membrane. The particles are believed to be the water-conducting elements in the membrane. We have employed several scanning (SEM) and transmission electron-microscopic (TEM) techniques to study the relationship of the cytoplasmic tubules to the luminal membrane and to the apical cytoskeleton of the toad bladder epithelial cell. This paper reports the results of freeze-crack SEM and tannic acid-fixed TEM studies, as well as studies with a resinless method of embedding. Freeze-cracked epithelial cells reveal that the tubules are anchored in a matrix of cytoskeleton and granules just below the luminal membrane, and many, if not all, retain their anchorage to the matrix after ADH-induced fusion. Tannic acid-fixed specimens show that the tubules in unstimulated cells lie horizontally. Fusion appears to involve an angulation of the tubules, and this may be the major mode of ADH-induced tubule movement. There are suggestions in the tannic acid sections of filamentous attachments of tubules to the surrounding cytoskeleton. In addition there are prominent microfilament bundles running down the microvilli and a dense concentration of filaments just below the luminal membrane. The presence of these filaments, is confirmed in the resinless sections, and their possible role in ADH action is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C268-C281
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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