The cytological organization of flight muscle fibers of Odonata has been investigated. These fibers, in representatives of the Zygoptera and Anisoptera, have been compared and found to be similar, except that, in the former, pairs of lamellar fibrils, rather than single fibrils, alternate with the mitochondria. In each instance, in these synchronous muscles, the actin filaments of the myofibrils are found to lie opposite to and midway between pairs of myosin filaments—a configuration previously reported in asynchronous flight muscle fibers. The disposition of the T system and sarcoplasmic reticulum membranes in glutaraldehyde-fixed anisopteran muscle is described in detail: the T system tubules are shown to be radially continuous across the fiber, and are derived as openmouthed invaginations from the surface cell-membrane. The detailed organization of the dyad junctions between these tubules and the adjoining cisternae of the sarcoplasmic reticulum is described. The accessibility of the T system interior to diffusion exchange with the general extracellular milieu has been investigated by studies on the penetration of ferritin into the fiber: molecules of this marker have been found to diffuse solely along the T system tubules, and their presence in the tubule extremities adjoining the centrally placed nuclei confirms the morphological evidence suggesting that these tubules provide open diffusion channels extending across the radius of the fiber. The possible physiological role of these membrane components and their distribution in synchronous muscles of insects and vertebrates and in asynchronous insect flight muscle are discussed.

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