A recently introduced extension of video-enhanced light microscopy, called Nanovid microscopy, documents the dynamic reorganization of individual cell surface components on living cells. 40-microns colloidal gold probes coupled to different types of poly-L-lysine label negative cell surface components of PTK2 cells. Evidence is provided that they bind to negative sialic acid residues of glycoproteins, probably through nonspecific electrostatic interactions. The gold probes, coupled to short poly-L-lysine molecules (4 kD) displayed Brownian motion, with a diffusion coefficient in the range 0.1-0.2 micron2/s. A diffusion coefficient in the 0.1 micron2/s range was also observed with 40-nm gold probes coupled to an antibody against the lipid-linked Thy-1 antigen on 3T3 fibroblasts. Diffusion of these probes is largely confined to apparent microdomains of 1-2 microns in size. On the other hand, the gold probes, coupled to long poly-L-lysine molecules (240 kD) molecules and bound to the leading lamella, were driven rearward, toward the boundary between lamelloplasm and perinuclear cytoplasm at a velocity of 0.5-1 micron/min by a directed ATP-dependent mechanism. This uniform motion was inhibited by cytochalasin, suggesting actin microfilament involvement. A similar behavior on MO cells was observed when the antibody-labeled gold served as a marker for the PGP-1 (GP-80) antigen. These results show that Nanovid microscopy, offering the possibility to observe the motion of individual specific cell surface components, provides a new and powerful tool to study the dynamic reorganization of the cell membrane during locomotion and in other biological contexts as well.

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