Filipin-sterol complexes in molluscan gill ciliated epithelial cell membranes: intercalation into ciliary necklaces and induction of gap junctional particle arrays
Using filipin as a probe for the presence of membrane cholesterol, the evolution of cholesterol distribution in the apical plasma membrane was studied during estrogen-induced ciliogenesis in quail oviduct and compared with the distribution of intramembrane particles (IMPs). Ciliary growth is preceded by the first step of microvillus differentiation. Microvilli emerge in membrane domains rich in IMPs and devoid of filipin-cholesterol (f-c) complexes. However growing microvillus membrane shows f-c complexes. During ciliary growth, microvilli lengthen from 0.5 to 2 microns, indicating that the microvillar membrane is not a membrane reservoir for ciliogenesis. During ciliary growth, the characteristic ciliary necklace IMP rows appear progressively at the base of cilia. The first IMP row is organized in a membrane circlet lacking of f-c complexes, whereas the new shaft membrane in the middle of the circlet exhibits numerous complexes. These two different domains of the cilia keep their specificity during ciliary growth. Only the ciliary tip shows fewer complexes than the shaft membrane. The apical membrane of differentiated ciliated cells is thus composed of various domains, the ciliary shaft full of f-c complexes and poor in IMPs, the ciliary necklace is devoid of f-c complexes and rich in IMPs, the microvilli membrane is rich in both IMPs and f-c complexes, and the interciliary membrane is poor in both f-c complexes and IMPs, whereas the undifferentiated cells exhibit an apical membrane in which f-c complexes and IMPs are distributed homogeneously.