Addition of the protein phosphatase inhibitor, calyculin-A, to 3T3 fibroblasts causes a marked change in cell morphology. Initially the cells become rounded, develop surface blebs and then detach from the substratum. In the detached cells an unusual ball-like structure is observed. This study focuses on the cytoskeleton during these calyculin-A-induced morphological changes. Stress fibres disappear as the cells begin to round and aggregates of actin are formed towards the apical surface of the cell. These aggregates condense, in the detached cells, to form the ball structure of approximately 3 μm diameter. Between the ball and the nucleus are cables of intermediate filaments that appear to be attached to the surface of the ball and to the nuclear lamina. Using a procedure designed for the isolation of nuclei the nucleus-ball complex can be obtained. Analysis of the nucleus-ball preparation by immunofluorescence and electron microscopy demonstrate that the ball contains actin and that intermediate filaments are located between the ball and the nucleus. In this preparation, the intermediate filaments also appear to attach to the surfaces of the ball and the nucleus. Electrophoretic analysis of the nucleus-ball preparation indicates that, in addition to actin, a major component of the ball is myosin. It is suggested that the formation of the ball is caused by an actin-myosin-based contractile process, initiated by the phosphorylation of myosin. The aggregation of the actomyosin draws together the intermediate filaments into the area between the ball and nucleus. This hypothesis requires that vimentin binds both to the nucleus and to some component of the ball.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology