Co-ordinated electron microscopy and X-ray studies of glycerinated insect flight muscle. I. X-ray diffraction monitoring during preparation for electron microscopy of muscle fibres fixed in rigor, in ATP and in AMPPNP.
Synchrotron radiation was used for low-angle X-ray diffraction to monitor structural changes produced in insect flight muscle during fixation, dehydration and embedding for electron microscopy of thin sections. Fibre bundles were fixed by cold glutaraldehyde in one of three states, namely rigor, ATP or AMPPNP, followed by additional cross-linking treatment. No heavy metals were used before embedding. During fixation-embedding, all specimens lost the continuous actin layer lines of spacing 11-5 nm, shrank 18-21% in lattice spacing, shrank 0.5-2.5% in axial spacings and showed equatorial intensity changes which were similar for all three states, while the well-sampled inner layer lines (39-13 nm) were preserved with different fidelity in each state, highest for rigor and lowest for ATP. In different AMPPNP bundles, these layer lines indicated different degrees of unexplained shift (from slight to total) towards the structure of muscle fixed in ATP. Fixation in ATP caused obvious gain of intensity on 39, 19 and 13 nm layer lines, which can be interpreted as trapping of myosin crossbridge attachments to actin; this artifact was unchanged by seven variations in fixation conditions. Fixation in rigor gave no indication of crossbridge detachment nor of the presence or alteration of any significant population of non-bridging myosin heads. X-ray monitoring allowed selection of best-preserved samples for subsequent electron microscopy. The rapid pattern-recording possible with synchrotron X-ray intensity allowed us to complete and compare experiments with many fibre bundles from a single glycerinated Lethocerus muscle.
Reedy, MK; Goody, RS; Hofmann, W; Rosenbaum, G
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