Cytoskeletal architecture and its evolutionary significance in amoeboid eukaryotes and their mode of locomotion
Various stabilization and extraction procedures were tested to demonstrate the ultrastructural organization of the cytoskeleton in normal, locomoting Amoeba proteus. Most reliable results were obtained after careful fixation in glutaraldehyde/lysine followed by prolonged extraction in a polyethylene glycol/Triton X-100 solution. Before dehydration in a graded series of ethanol and critical-point drying, the amoebae were split by the sandwich-technique, i.e., by mechanical cleavage of cells mounted between two poly-L-lysine-coated glass slides. Platinum-carbon replicas as well as thin sections prepared from such cell fragments revealed a cytoskeleton composed of at least four different types of filaments: (1) 5–7-nm filaments organized as a more or less ordered cortical network at the internal face of the plasma membrane and probably representing F-actin; (2) 10–12-nm filaments running separately or slightly aggregated through the cytoplasm and probably representing intermediate filaments; (3) 24–26-nm filaments forming a loose network and probably representing microtubules; and (4) 2–4-nm filaments as connecting elements between the other cytoskeleton constituents. Whereas microfilaments are responsible for protoplasmic streaming and other motile phenomena, the function of intermediate filaments and cytoplasmic microtubules in amoebae is still obscure.