The fine structure of the regular arrays of subunits seen on both plasmalemma fracture faces in resting and starved Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker's yeast) has been compared using different freeze-fracture replication methods. Freeze-cleaving was carried out at 173 degrees, 133 degrees, and 108 degrees K under a vacuum of 2 X 10(-7) torr (2.6 X 10(- 7)mbar) or under liquid nitrogen at atmosphereic pressure.

Independent of the preparation conditions (fracturing temperature, and whether cleaved under vacuum or liquid nitrogen), resting and starved yeast show a significant difference in the morphology of the subunits forming the regular arrays.

The regularly arranged particles of the P face of the plasmalemma of starved yeast have a clear craterlike structure which has previously been reported to be demonstrated only by freeze-etching at very low temperatures in ultrahigh vacuum. A complementary structure is seen on the plasmalemma E face.

Prolonged exposures of fracture faces under the protection of liquid nitrogen-cooled shrouds have shown that, because of the consequent drastic reduction of condensable gases in the specimen area, no detectable condensation contamination of exposed fracture faces occurs within 15 min at a specimen temperature of 108 degrees K. This shows that a complicated ultrahigh vacuum technology is not required for high resolution freeze- etching.

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