We have studied the organization of microtubules in neurons of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Six neurons, which we call the microtubule cells, contain bundles of darkly staining microtubules which can be followed easily in serial-section electron micrographs. Reconstruction of individual microtubules in these cells indicate that most, if not all, microtubules are short compared with the length of the cell process. Average microtubule length varies characteristically with cell type. The arrangement of microtubules gives an overall polarity to each bundle: the distal ends of the microtubles are on the outside of the bundle, whereas the proximal ends are preferentially inside. The distal and proximal ends each have a characteristic appearance indicating that these microtubules may have a polarity of their own. Short microtubules in processes of other neurons in C. elegans have also been observed.

This content is only available as a PDF.