The blood platelet is the only human cell known to have a circumferential band of microtubules. However, the mechanisms involved in assembly of the multi-looped coil, its interaction with the cell membrane to support discoid shape, and constriction into tight rings around centrally concentrated organelles in activated platelets are unknown. Separation of the microtubule rings from intact platelets would permit new approaches to solution of these questions. The present study has used simultaneous detergent extraction and fixation to isolate intact microtubule coils in significant numbers from suspended platelets for the first time. Isolated coils closely resembled the circumferential band observed in thin sections of plastic embedded platelets and in platelets prepared by the negative-stain whole-mount method. Enough microtubule coils could be recovered from suspensions of concentrated platelets to permit counting and quantitation on microscope grids. Results of this study will permit new approaches to clarification of the structural physiology of platelet microtubule coils.

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