A new structure associated with the surfaces of neuronal microtubules is described which connects microtubules to neurofilaments in the axonal processes of cultured chick sensory ganglia. These couplers consist of a spherical core particle (15 nm in diameter) from which radiate several thin filaments (4 nm in diameter). Connection of adjacent microtubules and neurofilaments is achieved by thin filaments radiating from core particles positioned between these cytoskeletal elements. Couplers are most conspicuous in regions of axonal processes containing widely separated microtubules and neurofilaments. The structure and distribution of these couplers suggests that they are directly involved in intra-axonal organelle movements, possibly by modulating the spatial separation of adjacent microtubules and neurofilaments, thereby allowing the passage of transported organelles.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Neurology
- Developmental Biology