Myosin, tropomyosin, and actin were localized in the epithelial cells of rat intestine by means of specific antibodies to chicken gizzard smooth muscle myosin, tropomyosin, and actin by immunohistochemical studies at both the light and electron microscope levels (unlabeled antibody enzyme technique). The pattern of antibody staining was the following (a) Anti-actin was associated with the microfilament bundles of the microvilli in their entire length, as well as with the microfilament network in the terminal web. (b) Anti-myosin was concentrated along the rootlets of the microvillar microfilament bundles and within the filamentous feltwork forming the terminal web. (c) Anti-tropomyosin showed a distribution similar to that of anti-myosin. In addition, the three antibodies also labeled the subplasmalemmal web underneath the cell membrane bordering on the basal lamina. Utilizing the above ultrastructural findings, we wish to propose a functional model of microvillar contraction.

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