The Torpedo electrocyte is a flattened syncytium derived from skeletal muscle, characterized by two functionally distinct plasma membrane domains. The electrocyte is filled up with a transversal network of intermediate filaments (IF) of desmin which contact in an end-on fashion both sides of the cell. In this work, we show that polyclonal antibodies specific for lamin B recognizes a component of the plasma membrane of Torpedo electrocyte. This protein which thus shares epitopes with lamin B has a relative molecular mass of 54 kD, an acidic IP of 5.4. It is localized exclusively on the cytoplasmic side of the innervated membrane of the electrocyte at sites of IF-membrane contacts. Since our previous work showed that the noninnervated membrane contains ankyrin (Kordeli, E., J. Cartaud, H. O. Nghiêm, L. A. Pradel, C. Dubreuil, D. Paulin, and J.-P. Changeux. 1986. J. Cell Biol. 102:748-761), the present results suggest that desmin filaments may be anchored via the 54-kD protein to the innervated membrane and via ankyrin to the noninnervated membrane. These findings would represent an extension of the model proposed by Georgatos and Blobel (Georgatos, S. D., and G. Blobel. 1987a. J. Cell Biol. 105:105-115) in which type III intermediate size filaments are vectorially inserted to plasma and nuclear membranes by ankyrin and lamin B, respectively.

This content is only available as a PDF.