The tips of rat sperm tails were slightly frayed by mechanical agitation, thus exposing the fibrils, which were then studied by electron microscopy after negative staining. Only the fibrils survived this treatment. Each fibril proved to be a cylinder with a hollow core. The walls of the cylinders were made up of 10 longitudinally oriented filaments. The filaments had a markedly beaded appearance, with a repeating period of 88 A. The filament thickness (bead width) was approximately 35 to 40 A. Beads of neighboring filaments were in register with each other so that cross-linking bound the filaments together to complete the wall structure of each fibril. The center-to-center spacing from one filament to the next was 55 to 60 A. The periodicity and the diameters of the filaments make it unlikely that the filaments are related to either actin or myosin. From the way the fibrils kinked, it can be inferred that they possessed considerable mechanical strength. It is consistent with present knowledge that fibrils of the mitotic apparatus may have the same basic structure as the flagellar fibrils. Under some circumstances, pairs of fibrils separated from one another along their length, except at their extreme tips. It was apparent that there was special bridging material to be found there. In other preparations, however, the paired fibrils remained together, indicating a powerful coupling mechanism.

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