The association of actin filaments with membranes is an important feature in the motility of nonmuscle cells. We investigated the role of membrane particles in the attachment of actin filaments to membranes in those systems in which the attachment site can be identified. Freeze fractures through the end-on attachment site of the acrosomal filament bundles in Mytilus (mussel) and Limulus (horseshoe crab) sperm and the attachment site of the microvillar filament bundles in the brush border of intestinal epithelial cells were examined. There are no particles on the P face of the membrane at these sites in the sperm systems and generally none at these sites in microvilli. In microvilli, the actin filaments are also attached along their lengths to the membrane by bridges. When the isolated brush border is incubated in high concentrations of Mg++ (15 mM), the actin filaments form paracrystals and, as a result, the bridges are in register (330 A period). Under these conditions, alignment of the particles on the P face of the membrane into circumferential bands also occurs. However, these bands are generally separated by 800-900 A, indicating that all the bridges cannot be directly attached to membrane particles. Thus membrane particles are not directly involved in the attachment of actin filaments to membranes.

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