Modulations in the internal structure of the plasma membrane during the cell cycle of mouse C1300 neuroblastoma cells (clone Neuro-2A) have been studied by freeze-fracture electron microscopy. Both the numerical and lateral distributions of the intramembrane particles (IMP) of the P face of the medium-exposed plasma membrane were determined as a function of the IMP diameter. The lateral IMP-distribution was quantified by a differential density distribution analysis, that could distinguish between random, aggregated, and dispersed distributions of IMP-subpopulations at various levels of spatial organization. Nonrandom lateral IMP-distribution was considered to indicate significant directional constraints on the lateral mobility of the represented molecules. The analysis demonstrated that the density, the size distribution, and the lateral distribution of the IMP are modulated during the cell cycle, such that characteristic structural and dynamic membrane properties can be attributed to the various cell cycle phases (M, G1, S, and G2). The results are interpreted in terms of asynchronous assembly of different membrane components and dynamic reorganizations within the plasma membrane during the cell cycle. Furthermore, they provide a structural manifestation of earlier observed changes in the dynamic properties of membrane proteins and lipids, and functional membrane transport properties in these neuroblastoma cells.

This content is only available as a PDF.