Organization of actin microfilaments in the apical border of oviduct ciliated cells

Biol Cell. 1989;67(1):81-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1768-322x.1989.tb03012.x.


Actin microfilaments were localized in quail oviduct ciliated cells using decoration with myosin subfragment S1 and immunogold labeling. These polarized epithelial cells show a well developed cytoskeleton due to the presence of numerous cilia and microvilli at their apical pole. Most S1-decorated microfilaments extend from the microvilli downward towards the upper part of the ciliary striated rootlets with which they are connected. From the microvillous roots, a few microfilaments connect the proximal part of the basal body or the basal foot associated with the basal body. Microfilament polarity is shown by S1 arrowheads pointing away from the microvillous tip to the cell body. Furthermore, short microfilaments are attached to the plasma membrane at the anchoring sites of basal bodies and run along the basal body. The polarity of these short microfilaments is directed from the basal body anchoring fibers downward to the cytoplasm. At the cell periphery, microfilaments from microvillous roots and ciliary apparatus are connected with those of the circumferential actin belt which is associated with the apical zonula adhaerens. Together with the other cytoskeletal elements, the microfilaments increase ciliary anchorage and could be involved in the coordination of ciliary beating. Moreover, microvilli surrounding the cilia probably modify ciliary beating by offering resistance to cilium bending. The presence of microvilli could explain the fact that mainly the upper part of the cilia appanars to be involved in the axonemal bending in metazoan ciliated cells.

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure*
  • Actins / physiology
  • Actins / ultrastructure*
  • Animals
  • Cilia / ultrastructure*
  • Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure*
  • Female
  • Freezing
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Myosin Subfragments
  • Oviducts / ultrastructure*
  • Quail


  • Actins
  • Myosin Subfragments