Scanning Microscopy


Scanning force microscopy (SFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to examine the tissue structure of the electric organ of Torpedo marmorata in air and in liquid after applying fracturing and cryosectioning techniques and chemical fixation. The electric organ is organized in columns of stacked electrocytes, arranged in a honeycomb pattern. The columns were cut along a plane normal to the cell stack and thin sections were transferred to polylysine coated glass coverslips. The polarity of the electrocytes was made apparent by immunofluorescence microscopy directed to different domains of the acetylcholine receptor (AChR), thus revealing the innervated face of the cell. SFM and SEM both showed cell surfaces to be overlaid by a network of collagen fibers by their characteristic banding pattern with about 64 nm periodicity and about 2.5 nm corrugation amplitude. In liquid, significantly lower structural resolution was achieved by SFM, probably due to sample elasticity.

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