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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cryofixation, ultracryomicrotomy, and X-ray microanalysis of enterocytes from chick duodenum: vitamin-D-induced formation of an apical tubulovesicular system.

New methods of tissue preparation were developed to study the morphology and distribution of calcium ions in duodenal enterocytes from normal, rachitic, and vitamin D-replete (either cholecalciferol [CC] or 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol [1,25-DHCC] treated) chicks. Frozen hydrated sections were prepared from cryofixed tissues by ultracryomicrotomy at -125 degrees C. Sections were subsequently freeze-dried by increasing the temperature to -100 degrees C. The latter temperature was maintained throughout both the structural and elemental analyses. In cells from normal, rachitic, and vitamin D-treated [CC] animals the brush border from lanthanum-infused tissues was electron dense and calcium-lanthanum positive by x-ray analysis. In the absence of lanthanum, i.e., sucrose-infused duodena, the microvilli were still calcium positive. In the terminal web region of normal and CC-treated enterocytes, numerous, apparently interconnected, tubules and vesicles were seen. Vacuole-like structures were also seen. Such structures were especially prominent in the enterocytes from the vitamin-treated [CC] animals. Except for the vacuoles, the tubules and vesicles were electron dense in the lanthanum-infused duodena, and clear in sucrose-infused tissues. In both instances, the structures were calcium positive. Similar, but even larger structures were seen below the terminal web. Here however, the tubules and vesicles seemed to be organized into multiple complex interconnecting networks, i.e., tubulo-vesicular complexes. Both the tubules and the vesicles seemed to be interconnected via smaller channel-like entities. The extensiveness of this structure was better appreciated in the enterocytes from lanthanum-infused tissues, where it appeared similar in structure and complexity to an en face view of the sarcoplasmic reticulum of skeletal muscle. These intestinal complexes were less well developed, decreased in number, and quite often absent, in the apical cytoplasm of absorptive cells from rachitic chicks. In the enterocytes from animals treated for 24 hours with 1,25-DHCC, the same highly developed tubulo-vesicular networks were again seen in the enterocyte apical cytoplasm. They were even more developed in the 1,25-DHCC-treated animals. All structures were intensely calcium positive in enterocytes from both the lanthanum- and the sucrose-infused preparations. Numerous endocytotic (pinocytotic) vesicles were seen at the lumenal plasmalemma. Similar structures were also apparent in the terminal web region of the 1,25-DHCC-treated enterocytes. Exocytotic vesicles were seen at the apical aspect of the lateral cell membrane, below the level of the junctional complex. All components of this unique system contained high concentrations of calcium.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


  1. Cryofixation, ultracryomicrotomy, and X-ray microanalysis of enterocytes from chick duodenum: vitamin-D-induced formation of an apical tubulovesicular system. Davis, W.L., Hagler, H.K., Jones, R.G., Farmer, G.R., Cooper, O.J., Martin, J.H., Bridges, G.E., Goodman, D.B. Anat. Rec. (1991) [Pubmed]
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