Coated vesicles (CVs), plain synaptic vesicles (PSVs), and nonvesicular flocculent material were isolated from synaptosomes and examined with goniometry and high-resolution electron microscopy after either negative staining or various biochemical procedures. The flocculent material (i.e. the presynaptic matrix material except CV shells) is largely composed of particulate or elongated (chainlike) structures; some of this material (here referred to as particle/chain material) is attached to PSVs. The results obtained were: (a) the proteinaceous properties of the CV coat (also referred to as CV shell) and the particle/chain material were demonstrated with chymotrypsin; (b) the CV shell, studied with various negative-staining techniques, differs from the particle/chain material since it has no 3-4-nm globular subunits and reacts differently to alkaline pH; (c) the particle/chain material consists of aggregates of 3-4-nm globular subunits, four of which yield 8-10-nm fine particles; and these particles can be further aggregated into chains 8-10 nm wide and up to 30-60 nm long showing a "hollow" core; (d) vinblastine sulfate induced ringlike or helical crystalloid precipitates closely resembling the vinblastine-induced microtubule crystals reported in the literature, but vinblastine had no effect on either the CV shell material or the particle/chain material.

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