Dynamic shape changes of cytoplasmic organelles translocating along microtubules

B. Kachar, P. C. Bridgman, T. S. Reese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Transient shape changes of organelles translocating along microtubules are directly visualized in thinly spread cytoplasmic processes of the marine foraminifer, Allogromia laticollaris, by a combination of high-resolution video-enhanced microscopy and fast-freezing electron microscopy. The interacting side of the organelle flattens upon binding to a microtubule, as if to maximize contact with it. Organelles typically assume a teardrop shape while moving, as if they were dragged through a viscous medium. Associated microtubules bend around attachments of the teardrop-shaped organelles, suggesting that they too are acted on by the forces deforming the organelles. An 18-mm gap between the organelles and the microtubules is periodically bridged by 10-nm-thick cross-bridge structures that may be responsible for the binding and motive forces deforming organelles and microtubules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1267-1271
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987


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