In cultured cells of the rat kangaroo PtK2 line, veils of the cell surface were observed which consisted of only plasma membrane and paracrystalline arrays of membrane-associated particles sandwiched in between. These membrane-to-membrane cross-bridging 9-to 11-nm wide particles were somewhat coumellar-shaped and were arranged on a hexagonal lattice with an interparticle distance of 16nm. At higher magnification, they revealed an unstained core, thus suggesting a ringlike substructure. Similar arrays of paracrystal-containing veils, which were rather variable in size and frequency, were also observed in other cultured cells. It is hypothesized that these paracrystals represent protein macromolecular complexes associated with the inner plasma membrane surface which crystallize when plasma membranes come into close intracellular contact and other components of the subsurface network are removed.

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