The Extrarhabdomeral Cytoskeleton in Photoreceptors of Diptera. II. Plasmalemmal Undercoats
The plasmalemmal undercoats of those regions of the photoreceptors of the blowfly Lucilia that flank the central extracellular space of each ommatidium are described from en face and transverse thin sections. Labile structures were stabilized before fixation for electron microscopy by using an inhibitor of thiol proteases, Ep-475, as described in the previous paper (Blest et al., Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 220, 339-352, 1984). Membranes of R1-6 are underlain by a closely associated, randomly organized filamentous meshwork. That of the basal region of R7 is highly organized, and consists of very long, about 8 nm filaments running parallel to each other and to the longitudinal ommatidial axis; these `backbone' filaments are tightly adherent to the plasma membrane, and are spaced some 190-200 nm apart. They are linked by abundant transverse filaments that form a reticulum between them. The degree of ordering of the reticulum in life is not clear, but some well-preserved profiles suggest that it may be high. Replicas obtained by the freeze-fracture technique show that extrarhabdomeral membranes have dense populations of intramembrane particles, just as they do in Drosophila where a genetic analysis has shown them to consist largely of rhodopsin. It is proposed as a working hypothesis that these planar membranes can be regarded as flat equivalents of the microvillar membranes, that some fraction of the integral membrane proteins may be immobilized by bonding to the plasmalemmal undercoat, and that the latter may help to constrain both the translational and rotational movements of rhodopsin molecules.
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B
- Pub Date:
- January 1984