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Correlative cryo-electron microscopy reveals the structure of TNTs in neuronal cells

Abstract : The orchestration of intercellular communication is essential for multicellular organisms. One mechanism by which cells communicate is through long, actin-rich membranous protrusions called tunneling nanotubes (TNTs), which allow the intercellular transport of various cargoes, between the cytoplasm of distant cells in vitro and in vivo. With most studies failing to establish their structural identity and examine whether they are truly open-ended organelles, there is a need to study the anatomy of TNTs at the nanometer resolution. Here, we use correlative FIB-SEM, light- and cryo-electron microscopy approaches to elucidate the structural organization of neuronal TNTs. Our data indicate that they are composed of a bundle of open-ended individual tunneling nanotubes (iTNTs) that are held together by threads labeled with anti-N-Cadherin antibodies. iTNTs are filled with parallel actin bundles on which different membrane-bound compartments and mitochondria appear to transfer. These results provide evidence that neuronal TNTs have distinct structural features compared to other cell protrusions.
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Submitted on : Monday, August 5, 2019 - 12:39:18 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 7, 2022 - 10:10:37 AM


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Anna Sartori-Rupp, Diégo Cordero Cervantes, Anna Pepe, Karine Gousset, Elise Delage, et al.. Correlative cryo-electron microscopy reveals the structure of TNTs in neuronal cells. Nature Communications, 2019, 10 (1), pp.342. ⟨10.1038/s41467-018-08178-7⟩. ⟨pasteur-02263612⟩



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