Microtubule organization has been studied in serially sectioned myogenic cells in the tail muscle regeneration blastema of Rana pipiens tadpoles. In mesenchymal cells and in some premyoblasts, microtubules radiate from centriolar satellites in a cell center, while in more mature myoblasts and myotubes the centrioles no longer appear to serve as organizing centers for microtubules. In all elongate, fusiform myogenic cells, the microtubules are predominately oriented in the longitudinal axis of the cell. Counts of microtubules in transverse sections spaced at regular intervals along the cells show that the absolute number of microtubules is greatest in the thickened midregions of the cells and decreases relatively smoothly toward the tapered ends of the cells. Close paraxial association of microtubules (within 40 nm surface-to-surface) occurs along the entire lengths of cells but appears with greatest frequency in their tapered ends. In two myoblasts, serial sections were used to trace all microtubules in 8-µm long segments of the cells located about midway between the nucleus and one end of the cell. Since tracings show that as many as 50% of the microtubules terminate within the 8-µm long segment, it seems unlikely that any microtubules extend the entire length of the cell. It is proposed that lateral interactions between paraxial microtubules stabilize the overall microtubular apparatus and contribute to maintenance of the bipolar form of the cells. A three-dimensional model of the complete microtubular array in one of the 8-µm long segments of a myoblast has been constructed. The model reveals that a few microtubules within the segment are bent into smooth curves and loops that could be generated by sliding interaction between paraxial microtubules.

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