Supracellular Microtubule Alignments in Cell Layers Associated with the Secretion of Certain Fish Scales
Journal of Cell Science
Intercellularly aligned microtubule arrays are present in cell layers associated with the growth and secretion of scales in the zebra fish Brachydanio rerio and the neon tetra fish Hyphessobrycon innesi. The layers in question are: the osteoblast layer that covers the ossified outer surface of a scale, and the layer of fibroblasts that is situated immediately underneath the inner collagenous surface of a scale's fibrillary plate. In certain osteoblasts, the proximal portions of microtubules
... h respect to centrosomes) run closely alongside the anterior margin of each cell where it flanks one of a scale's ridge-shaped circuli. These osteoblasts and microtubule portions are arranged in aligned rows that are parallel to circuli. However, the distal portions of the microtubules curve into an orientation that is approximately at right angles to circuli and they are aligned with each other and similar microtubule portions in adjacent osteoblasts. Such microtubule alignments only occur in osteoblasts that are associated with circuli. In Hyphessobrycon osteoblasts situated elsewhere on a scale's surface, microtubules radiate from cell centres but their distal portions curve into alignment with each other and are oriented alongside cell margins. The proximal portions of fibroblast microtubules radiate from centrally positioned centrosomes but the distal portions curve into alignment with each other and distal microtubule portions in neighbouring fibroblasts. The overall pattern of microtubule alignment is similar to that of collagen fibres, which these fibroblasts are secreting onto the fibrillary plate. The immunofluorescence protocol that was used to demonstrate the microtubule alignments described above did not reveal such alignments in the osteoblast and fibroblast layers associated with scales of the brown trout Salmo truttafario. These findings are assessed in terms of intra-and inter-cellular control of microtubule alignment, and decentralized reorientation of microtubules at distances of several micrometres from centrosomal microtubule-organizing centres. The functional significance of the relationships between microtubule alignment and supracellular patterns of alignment that take place as collagen deposition and ossification proceed during scale formation is also considered.