The subplasmalemmal organization of the free and glass-attached surfaces of resting and phagocytizing cultivated macrophages were examined in an attempt to define specific membrane-associated structures related to phagocytosis. From analysis of serial thin sections of oriented cells it was found that the subplasmalemmal region of the attached cell surface has a complex microfilament and microtubule organization relative to the subplasmalemmal area of the free surface. A filamentous network composed of 40–50-Å microfilaments extended for a depth of 400–600 Å from the attached plasma membrane. Immediately subjacent to the filamentous network was a zone of oriented bundles of 40–50-Å microfilaments and a zone of microtubules. Additional microtubules were found to extend from the plasma membrane to the interior of the cell in close association with electron-dense, channellike structures. In contrast, the free aspect of the cultivated macrophage contained only the subplasmalemmal filamentous network. However, after a phagocytic pulse with polystyrene particles (14 µm diam) microtubules and oriented filaments similar to those found on the attached surface were observed surrounding the ingested particles. The observations reported in this paper provide support for the hypothesis that microfilaments and/or microtubules play a role in the translocation of plasma membrane required for the functionally similar processes of phagocytosis and cell attachment to glass.

This content is only available as a PDF.