Ultrastructural and immunocytochemical analysis of the circumferential microfilament bundle in avian retinal pigmented epithelial cells in vitro

Cell Tissue Res. 1991 Jan;263(1):29-40. doi: 10.1007/BF00318397.


The dedifferentiated phenotype of pigmented epithelial cells in vitro is bipotential and is effected by environmental alterations mediated by the cell surface and associated cytoskeleton. We have begun an investigation into the role that contractile microfilaments play in maintaining cell contact and cell shape in retinal pigmented epithelial cells in vitro. In this paper, we report a structural analysis of the intersection of the circumferential microfilament bundle with the cell membrane of cultured pigmented epithelial cells from chick retina. Techniques of electron microscopy, including freeze-fracturing and deep-etching, reveal that microfilaments of this bundle associate with a junctional complex in the apical cell compartment and with membrane domains which are not components of the junction. Microfilaments link with the cell membrane either at their termini or along the membrane-apposed surface of the circumferential bundle. Furthermore, we report the immunocytochemical localization of filamin (a high molecular weight actin-binding protein, which forms fiber bundles and sheet-like structures when bound with F-actin in solution) in the circumferential/microfilament bundle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Contractile Proteins / metabolism
  • Filamins
  • Freeze Fracturing
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / metabolism
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / ultrastructure*


  • Contractile Proteins
  • Filamins
  • Microfilament Proteins