3-wk-old clones of pigmented epithelial cells from chick retina can be divided into four zones on the basis of cellular morphology and pigmentation. These zones appear to represent different stages in the re-expression of differentiation: those cells with essentially no differentiated characteristics are at the outer edge and those with the greatest number are at the center. Cells of the colony exhibit three different types of movement when analyzed by time-lapse cinephotomicrography: focal contractions, extension and retraction of apical protrusions, and undulations of the lateral membranes. All the cells of the colony contain microfilaments, 4--7 nm in Diam, which are primarily arranged as apical and basal webs. In addition, less well defined filamentous networks are found in the apical protrusions and lateral interdigitations. When colonies are treated with 10 micrograms/ml of the drug cytochalasin B (CCB), the apical microfilament arrays are disrupted and movement stops. Both phenomena are reversible upon removal of the drug. During the process of redifferentiation, the cells change their shape from squamous to cuboidal, and the greatest change is found where the colony exhibits the greatest number of focal contractions. The evidence suggests that the apical microfilament arrays are directly responsible for the observed movements, particularly the focal contractions, and that focal contractions contribute to the development of the differentiated cellular shape. Possible roles for the other movements are discussed.

This content is only available as a PDF.