General Aspects of the Three-Dimensional Organization of Cytoskeletal Components

  • Manfred Schliwa
Part of the Cell Biology Monographs book series (CELLBIOL, volume 13)


The beginning of research on the biochemistry and supramolecular organization of the cytoskeleton is closely associated with two developments: 1. The use of antibodies to study the overall distribution of cytoskeleton-associated antigens in large populations of cells, an approach first applied at the light microscopic level and more recently at the electron microscopic level. 2. The use of nonionic detergents to remove the plasma membrane, internal membrane-bound organelles, and less stable components of the cytoplasm to generate a “cytoskeletal” preparation in which the organization of the major filament types can be studied at the electron microscopic level. Graphic images of critical point-dried or rapidly frozen preparations reveal fine details of the three-dimensional organization of filaments and their interactions, and are especially informative when viewed steroscopically. While both approaches are just ten years old, they have contributed to the establishment of a new branch of cell biological research. This section with discuss some general aspects of cytoskeletal organization as revealed by these techniques; more specialized features with then be dealt with in subsequent sections.


Actin Filament Intermediate Filament Immunofluorescence Microscopy Electron Microscopic Level Light Microscopic Level 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manfred Schliwa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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