A modification of the freeze-fracturing technique to permit observation of replicas of both sides of the fracture is described. It has been used to study mouse liver cell membrane structure. Membranes break to give two faces with three-dimensional complementarity, although there is some small-scale mismatching which is discussed. Since the two distinctive sets of membrane faces are complementary sets, they cannot be the two outside surfaces. In particular, structures (such as particles) seen on these faces are within the membrane. It is not possible from this work to say precisely where the fracture plane goes with respect to a plasma membrane, only that it must be close to the interface between membrane and cytoplasm, or at that interface. Models, consistent with the appearance of the matching replicas, are derived for three regions of the plasma membrane: (a) The nonjunctional plasma membrane, which contains many scattered particles. Except for these particles, the otherwise flat fracture face is not at variance with a bimolecular leaflet structure. (b) Gap junctions. Each of the two membranes comprising a gap junction contains a close-packed array of particles. (c) Tight junctions. Here membranes have ridges within them.
AN INTERPRETATION OF LIVER CELL MEMBRANE AND JUNCTION STRUCTURE BASED ON OBSERVATION OF FREEZE-FRACTURE REPLICAS OF BOTH SIDES OF THE FRACTURE
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J. P. Chalcroft, S. Bullivant; AN INTERPRETATION OF LIVER CELL MEMBRANE AND JUNCTION STRUCTURE BASED ON OBSERVATION OF FREEZE-FRACTURE REPLICAS OF BOTH SIDES OF THE FRACTURE . J Cell Biol 1 October 1970; 47 (1): 49–60. doi: https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.47.1.49
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