Scanning Microscopy


This review concerns the influence that cytomatrix proteins have on the motional properties of water and on the major inorganic ions in cells. The techniques we used for study of water in cells and on the cytomatrix proteins include: pulsed NMR of water protons, quench cooled ice crystal imprint size, and osmotic behavior. The technique for study of ions involved use of electron-probe X-ray microanalysis of thin cryosections of cells. The cytomatrix was found to play the major role in determining the extent of hydration water in cells, The amount of hydration water varied greatly between cell types (e.g., lens fiber cells have no detectable bulk water) and varied in the same cell type studied under different states (e.g., unfertilized and fertilized sea urchin eggs). Aggregation of cytomatrix proteins (actin in particular) is a determinant of the extent of hydration water in cells. Hydration water appears not to participate in the ideal osmotic equation of van't Hoff. The ionic content of cells does not accurately predict the chemical activity of the ions in cytoplasm. A major proportion of intracellular K+ and a substantial fraction of Cl- was found to be influenced by the cytomatrix such that their diffusion was impaired. The cytomatrix is responsible for the decreased motional properties of a substantial portion of cellular water and ions.

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