Effects of extracellular matrix on cytoskeletal and myofibrillar organization in vitro

L. L. Hilenski, L. Terracio, R. Sawyer, T. K. Borg

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The distribution and three-dimensional relationship of myofibrillar and cytoskeletal components during myofibrillogenesis were examined in preparations of neonatal rat cardiac myocytes processed in parallel for scanning electron microscopy (SEM), intermediate voltage transmission electron microscopy (IVEM) and immunofluorescence (IF). Of the various methods used for processing, optimal results were achieved by pre-extraction with Triton X-100 in an actin-stabilizing buffer. This procedure effectively removed the surface membrane, as viewed by SEM images, while preserving myofibrillar and cytoskeletal structure, as evidenced by IF for actin, α-actinin and vinculin. Cytoskeletons in SEM images consisted of a cortex of anastomosing filaments through which ran parallel filament bundles oriented in the long axis of the cell and attached along their length to the substrate by numerous fine filaments. In IVEM images, myofibrils were laterally connected at the level of the Z bands. Myocytes grown on different extracellular matrices showed different patterns and distributions of both striated myofibrils and focal adhesions, as determined by IF for α-actinin and vinculin, respectively. Cells on collagen I and III contained striated myofibrils which extended to the cell perimeters where focal adhesions were predominately located. Cells on laminin and fibronectin matrices exhibited myofibrils and focal adhesions more centrally located. In addition, cells on laminin contained circumferential arcs of filaments near the cell periphery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-548
Number of pages14
JournalScanning microscopy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation


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