Microtubular organization in the melanophores of the angelfish, Pterophyllum scalare, has been studied by serial thin sectioning. The course of microtubules has been followed in sets of transverse serial sections taken from the centrosphere and a segment of a cell process, respectively. Microtubules arise from a prominent zone in the cell center, the central apparatus, which is composed of numerous, small, electron-dense aggregates. the number of these loosely distributed densities is highest in the center of the centrosphere, but they may also be found at its periphery. Microtubules insert into, or becomes part of, the dense material, or at least start in its vicinity. Dense aggregates may be separated from centrioles by several micrometers rather than only being closely associated with these organelles. At some distance from the organizing zone, most of the microtubules gradually assume a cortical arrangement, i.e., take a course within about 100 nm of the limiting membrane. Serial sections were used to trace all microtubules within a 6μm-long segment of a cell process. 94 percent of the microtubules observed in this segment run its entire length; it is conceivable, therefore that a considerable number of microtubules extend between the initiating site in the centrosphere and the outermost cell region. A three-dimensional model of the 6μm-long segment reveals that, despite changes in the cell process outline, microtubules maintain a strictly cortical arrangement which gives the impression of a microtubule "palisade" lining the cortex of the cell process. The features of the microtubular apparatus of angelfish melanophores are discussed in relation to factors controlling microtubule initiation and distribution.

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