Topographical difference of cytoskeletal organization in smooth muscle cells of rat duodenum revealed by quick-freezing and deep-etching method


  • lchiro Takayama
  • Y. Fujii
  • N. Terada
  • T. Baba
  • Y. Kato
  • M. A. Fujino
  • S. Ohno


smooth muscle cells, duodenum, myenteric plexus, quick-freezing, deep-etching


The sarcolemmal domain of rat duodenal smooth muscle cells includes caveolae and associated cytoskeletal or filamentous elements. We have used the quick-freezing, deep-etching method to examine the three dimensional relationships between these components. Replica membranes for separated strips of rat duodenal muscle layers were routinely prepared after extraction soluble proteins from cytoplasm and extracellular matrix. As results, 1) cytoskeletal elements in smooth muscle cells consisted mainly of striated thin filaments; 2) thin filaments were connected with some plasma membranes through filaments associated with the sarcolemma, which formed fine network structures beneath the sarcolemma; 3) many bridging structures between the filaments associated with the sarcolemma and the extracellular matrix were frequently detected in the plasma membrane; and 4) compact filaments associated with the sarcolemma almost disappeared near the caveolae, and only thin filaments were anchored to their neck parts. The special arrangement of the cytoskeletal components, which is probably necessary for the intestinal motility, characterizes the topographical difference of the smooth muscle sarcolemma.