Cytonemes are specialized filopodia that mediate paracrine signaling in Drosophila and other animals. Studies using fluorescence confocal microscopy (CM) established their general paths, cell targets, and essential roles in signaling. To investigate details unresolvable by CM, we used high-pressure freezing and EM to visualize cytoneme structures, paths, contents, and contacts. We observed cytonemes previously seen by CM in the Drosophila wing imaginal disc system, including disc, tracheal air sac primordium (ASP), and myoblast cytonemes, and identified cytonemes extending into invaginations of target cells, and cytonemes connecting ASP cells and connecting myoblasts. Diameters of cytoneme shafts vary between repeating wide (206 ± 51.8 nm) and thin (55.9 ± 16.2 nm) segments. Actin, ribosomes, and membranous compartments are present throughout; rough ER and mitochondria are in wider proximal sections. These results reveal novel structural features of filopodia and provide a basis for understanding cytoneme cell biology and function.

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