The effect of colchicine on myogenesis in vivo has been studied in the regenerating tadpole tail of the frog, Rana pipiens, and in the abdominal molting muscles of a blood-sucking bug, Rhodnius prolixus Stål. Colchicine is shown to disrupt microtubules in the differentiating muscle cells of both these organisms. The disruption of microtubules is correlated with a loss of longitudinal anisometry in the myoblasts and myotubes of the regeneration blastema in the tadpole tail. Before colchicine treatment, the myotubes contain longitudinally oriented myofibrils. After colchicine treatment, rounded, multinucleate myosacs containing randomly oriented myofibrils are present. It is suggested that the primary function of microtubules in myogenesis in the Rana pipiens tadpole is the maintenance of cell shape. The abdominal molting muscles of Rhodnius undergo repeated phases of differentiation and dedifferentiation of the sarcoplasm. However, the longitudinal anisometry of the muscle fibers is maintained in all phases by the attachments of the ends of the fibers to the exoskeleton, and microtubule disruption does not alter cell shape. The orientation of the developing myofibrils is also unaltered, indicating that the microtubules do not directly align or support the myofibrils in this system.

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