A regional specialization of the cell surface of T. cruzi culture forms was found at the cytostome as a localized thick surface coat rich in carbohydrate-containing components. The prominent surface coat was located over a region of the plasma membrane where intramembranous particles were exceedingly low in number. In turn, the particle-poor region was related to specialized submembrane fibrils not present under other regions of the plasma membrane. The cystostome region provides a striking example of a stable regional differentiation of the plasma membrane, involving the outer surface, the membrane interior, and the underlying cytoplasm. In addition, independence of Con A receptors, colloidal iron binding sites, and ruthenium red-stainable surface components from membrane particles was demonstrated at the flagellar membrane.

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