A novel adhering junction in the apical ciliary apparatus of the rotifer Brachionus plicatilis (Rotifera, Monogononta)

Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.
Tissue and Cell (Impact Factor: 1.25). 11/1996; 28(5):603-12. DOI: 10.1016/S0040-8166(96)80063-2
Source: PubMed


Cultures of the rotifer Brachionus plicatilis were examined with regard to their interepithelial junctions after infiltration with the extracellular tracer lanthanum, freeze-fracturing or quick-freeze deep-etching. The lateral borders between ciliated cells have an unusual apical adhering junction. This apical part of their intercellular cleft looks desmosome-like, but it is characterized by unusual intramembranous E-face clusters of particles. Deep-etching reveals that these are packed together in short rows which lie parallel to one another in orderly arrays. The true membrane surface in these areas features filaments in the form of short ribbons; these are produced by projections, possibly part of the glycocalyx, emerging from the membranes, between which the electron-dense tracer lanthanum permeates. These projections appear to overlap with each other in the centre of the intercellular cleft; this would provide a particularly flexible adaptation to maintain cell-cell contact and coordination as a consequence. The filamentous ribbons may be held in position by the intramembranous particle arrays since both have a similar size and distribution. These contacts are quite different from desmosomes and appear to represent a distinct new category of adhesive cell-cell junction. Beneath these novel structures, conventional pleated septate junctions are found, exhibiting the undulating intercellular ribbons typical of this junctional type, as well as the usual parallel alignments of intramembranous rows of EF grooves and PF particles. Below these are found gap junctions as close-packed plaques of intramembranous particles on either the P-face or E-face. After freeze-fracturing, the complementary fracture face to the particles shows pits, usually on the P-face, arrayed with a very precise hexagonal pattern.

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