The mesothelial cells of the mouse omentum provide an in vivo model for the study of the mobilization of labile microvilli on the cell surface. These mesothelial cells are sparsely covered with microvilli and large pits 150--400 nm in diameter, termed vesiculated pits. On the unstimulated cell, the microvilli average 44/100 microns2 and pits, 30/100 microns 2 of surface and they are rapidly induced to increase in number by the intraperitoneal injection of isologous mouse serum. After 2 min, microvilli increase threefold, continue to sevenfold at 30 min, and decrease to fourfold at 90 min. Vesiculated pits increased with similar kinetics. Bovine serum albumin and gamma globulin also stimulate the microvilli and pits to form, but the response is a slow, gradual rise to five- or sixfold the normal value at 90 min. Evidence indicates that multiple factors, possibly including insulin and immunoglobulins, are involved in the effect of serum. The close physical and temporal relationship between microvilli and pits suggests that a correlation exists in their mobilization by the cell and it is hypothesized that microvilli function in the regulation of the cortical microfilament network in effecting this mobilization.

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