Polycationic ferritin (PCF) was used as a visual probe for anionic sites on the oviduct ciliary membrane. The binding of PCF to ciliary membranes was dependent on the concentration of the probe in the incubation media. At low concentrations (0.08-0.16 mg/ml), PCF was bound exclusively to the tip of the cilium whereas at higher concentrations (0.32-0.64 mg/ml), ferritin was located at the tip and at the base around the transition region, with occasional scattered clumps on the remainder of the membrane. The base and tip binding was fount to be associated with special surface modifications of the membrane in these regions. At the tip, PCF was bound to a filamentous glycocalyx termed the ciliary crown. Base binding was associated with a system of five to six 140-A high ridges, each of which encircled the membrane of the transition region. The ridges were equally spaced (approxamately 245 A spacing) along the length of the transition region. Since pretreatment of oviduct with either neuraminidase or protease blocked the binding of the probe, the PCF-binding sites appear to be negatively charged glycoproteins or mucopolysaccharides.

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