Spinach chloroplast lamellae were stained with aqueous uranyl acetate immediately after glutaraldehyde-osmium fixation but before dehydration and embedding. Under these conditions, the lamellae are shown in thin sections to have 95-Å x 115-Å coupling factor particles on their surfaces. The particles can be seen only on the matrix side of nonopposed thylakoids, and are shown to occur on both stromal and granal lamellae, regardless of the organization of the lamellae into stacks. It is estimated that, in native, fully coupled chloroplast lamellae, there is on the average one coupling factor for every 500 chlorophyll molecules. The morphological appearance of the particles is not affected by a variety of buffers, by changes in illumination or temperature, or by alterations in the energy state of the membranes during preparation.
The particles can be removed from the membranes with low concentrations of Na2EDTA, and the photophosphorylating activity of the membranes is concomitantly lost. Both the activity and the appearance of the particles can be restored to the membranes by rebinding EDTA-extracted coupling factors to the uncoupled membranes.