The mechanism of microtubule dependent movement of pigment granules in teleost chromatophores

D. B. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The relationship of cytoplasmic microtubules to intracellular transport was investigated in teleost chromatophores. Antimitotic agents, including colchicine, vinblastine, hydrostatic pressure, and low temperature remove microtubules in these cells, and simultaneously disrupt the alignment and arrest the movement of pigment granules. During recovery, the return of alignment and movement corresponds in both time and space with the repolymerization of microtubules. These results demonstrate that microtubules are essential for the intracellular transport of pigment. Investigations of the mechanism of movement show that microtubules do not change in number or location during the redistribution of pigment in Fundulus melanophores. Microtubules in melanophores also behave as semistable organelles as determined by investigation with colchicine and hydrostatic pressure. These observations and others rule out a push pull mechanism based on the polymerization and depolymerization of microtubules or one that distinguishes 2 operationally different sets of microtubules. It is proposed instead that particles move by sliding along a fixed array of microtubules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)692-701
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
VolumeVol. 253
StatePublished - 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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