The intestinal tuft cell nanostructure in 3D.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Once referred to as "peculiar," tuft cells are enigmatic epithelial cells. Here, we reasoned that future functional studies could be derived from a complete account of the tuft cell ultrastructure. We identified and documented the volumetric ultrastructure at nanometer resolution (4-5 nm/pixel) of specific intestinal tuft cells. The techniques used were Serial Block-Face (SBF) and Automated Tape-collecting Ultra-Microtome (ATUM) Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Our results exposed a short (~15 µm) basal cytoplasmic process devoid of secretory vesicles. Volume rendering of serial sections unveiled several thin cytospinules (~1 µm). These cytospinules project from the tuft cell into the nuclei of neighboring epithelial cells. Volume rendering also revealed within the tuft cell an elegant network of interconnected tubules. The network forms a passage from the base of the microvilli to the rough endoplasmic reticulum. Based on their location and microanatomy, the tuft cells' cytospinules, and tubular network, might facilitate the exchange of molecular cargo with nuclei of neighboring cells, and the gut lumen.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hoover, B; Baena, V; Kaelberer, MM; Getaneh, F; Chinchilla, S; Bohórquez, DV

Published Date

  • May 10, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 1652 -

PubMed ID

  • 28490731

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5431925

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2045-2322

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/s41598-017-01520-x


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England