Almost all structural studies on elastin have been done in higher vertebrates, in which it is organized as an extracellular network of branched fibres which vary from fractions f microns to several microns in diameter. By conventional electron microscopy, elastin appears amorphous. By both freeze-fracture and negative staining on cryosections, it can be resolved as beaded filaments 5 nm in diameter forming a 3D meshwork that, upon stretching, becomes oriented in the direction of the force applied. This filamentous aggregation of elastin molecules is confirmed in vitro by the observation that its soluble precursor, tropoelastin, shows a strong tendency to associate into short 5 nm-thick filaments that, with time, become longer and aggregate into bundles of various dimensions. If chemically fixed and embedded, these aggregates appear amorphous and identical to natural elastin fibres. The tendency of tropoelastin to aggregate into 4-5 nm-thick beaded filaments, which then associate into 12 nm-thick filaments forming a 3D network, has been observed by atomic force microscopy for recombinant human tropoelastin. Therefore, the amorphous structure of elastin seems to be a technical artefact. Apart from elastin-associated microfibrils, which are always present at the periphery of growing elastic fibres and probably have a role more complex than being a scaffold for tropoelastin aggregation in vivo, the elastic fibres seem to be composed of several matrix constituents, which are different in different organs and change with age and in pathological conditions. This is demonstrated by immunocytochemical studies on ultrathin sections.

Ultrastructure of elastin / Ronchetti, Ip.; Fornieri, C.; Contri, Mb.; Quaglino, D.. - 192:(1995), pp. 31-42.

Ultrastructure of elastin

Fornieri C.;Contri MB.;Quaglino D.
1995

Abstract

Almost all structural studies on elastin have been done in higher vertebrates, in which it is organized as an extracellular network of branched fibres which vary from fractions f microns to several microns in diameter. By conventional electron microscopy, elastin appears amorphous. By both freeze-fracture and negative staining on cryosections, it can be resolved as beaded filaments 5 nm in diameter forming a 3D meshwork that, upon stretching, becomes oriented in the direction of the force applied. This filamentous aggregation of elastin molecules is confirmed in vitro by the observation that its soluble precursor, tropoelastin, shows a strong tendency to associate into short 5 nm-thick filaments that, with time, become longer and aggregate into bundles of various dimensions. If chemically fixed and embedded, these aggregates appear amorphous and identical to natural elastin fibres. The tendency of tropoelastin to aggregate into 4-5 nm-thick beaded filaments, which then associate into 12 nm-thick filaments forming a 3D network, has been observed by atomic force microscopy for recombinant human tropoelastin. Therefore, the amorphous structure of elastin seems to be a technical artefact. Apart from elastin-associated microfibrils, which are always present at the periphery of growing elastic fibres and probably have a role more complex than being a scaffold for tropoelastin aggregation in vivo, the elastic fibres seem to be composed of several matrix constituents, which are different in different organs and change with age and in pathological conditions. This is demonstrated by immunocytochemical studies on ultrathin sections.
The Molecular Biology and Pathology of Elastic Tissues: The Molecular Biology and Pathology of Elastic Tissues: Ciba Foundation Symposium 192
Derek J. Chadwick Jamie A. Goode
Ultrastructure of elastin / Ronchetti, Ip.; Fornieri, C.; Contri, Mb.; Quaglino, D.. - 192:(1995), pp. 31-42.
Ronchetti, Ip.; Fornieri, C.; Contri, Mb.; Quaglino, D.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11380/1227193
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