The arrangement of actin filaments in the postsynaptic cytoplasm of the cerebellar cortex revealed by quick-freeze deep-etch electron microscopy

Neurosci Res. 1989 Feb;6(3):269-75. doi: 10.1016/0168-0102(89)90066-7.


The cytoskeletal architecture of the postsynaptic cytoplasm in the cerebellar cortex of mice and rats was observed by quick-freeze, deep-etch electron microscopy. The postsynaptic cytoplasm was mainly filled with a network of actin filaments (approximately 8 nm in width). The tips of the actin filaments were closely associated with the true inner side of the postsynaptic membranes. However, the organization of the actin filaments was distinct depending on the types of synapses. In axosomatic synapses the actin filaments tended to run randomly and form a network while in the postsynaptic spine, such as Purkinje cell dendritic spines, the actin filaments were mainly arranged parallel to the stalk of the spines. Only a few actin filaments were found in the postsynaptic cytoplasm of some axodendritic synapses such as mossy fiber-granule cell synapses. In most cases a mesh of fine strands (approximately 6 nm in width) and granular substances was observed just underneath the postsynaptic membranes which also associated with actin filaments. The arrangement of actin filaments in the spine does not support the possibility of constriction of spines as a basis for long-term depression (LTD).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Cerebellar Cortex / analysis*
  • Cerebellar Cortex / ultrastructure
  • Cytoplasm / analysis
  • Cytoplasm / ultrastructure
  • Cytoskeleton / analysis
  • Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure*
  • Freeze Etching
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron / methods
  • Rats


  • Actins