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Porter B. First Electron Micrograph of an Intact Cell


Description

In the original publication, the authors compared this image to others of similar magnification taken through the light microscope. They noted little improvement in the electron microscopic view of the nucleus due to the scattering of the electron beam in the thick central region. However, the 'adequacy of the electron micrograph technique for the demonstration of the finest structural details in other areas is beyond question.' They described a 'sharply defined' cellular margin with 'jagged points,' a 'finely granular' cytoplasmic ground substance and mitochondria of 'impressive clarity.' Most significantly, a 'lace-like reticulum' was clearly evident in the ground substance at the fringes of the cell. This was the first clear view of what Keith Porter later named the endoplasmic reticulum.

Title Porter B. First Electron Micrograph of an Intact Cell Author(s) Keith R Porter, Albert Claude, Ernest F Fullam

Historical Significance

This is a scan of the first electron micrograph taken of an intact eukaryotic cell. It was made from one of Keith Porter's original prints, a montage of five electron micrographs taken on July 6, 1944. Later technological improvements included the development of microtomes by Porter and Joseph Blum and others (including, independently, Andrew F Huxley and Hugh E Huxley) capable of cutting uniform ultrathin sections through the interior of a cell. The publication of this electron micrograph stimulated a generation of scientists to study the structure and function of subcellular components, thus initiating the modern science of cell biology.

Materials & Methods

The cell is a chicken embryonic fibroblast grown for 48 hours on a polyvinyl film coated glass coverslip. Under these conditions, cells spread out such that the electron beam is able to pass readily through the fringes of the cell. The cell was fixed in vapors from a 2% osmium tetroxide solution, washed for 30 minutes in distilled water, and air dried. A region of the coverslip containing cells was selected and marked using a dissecting microscope. The marked area was then cut from the surrounding film, lifted onto a small wire mesh disc, thoroughly dried over phosphorus pentoxide and examined with an RCA type B electron microscope. It was necessary to take micrographs of five separate parts of the cell and later join them to form a single image because the field of the microscope was not great enough to include the entire spread out cell (see http://cellimages.ascb.org/u?/p4041coll12,360).

References Plate 10, Figure 2, in: Porter KR, Claude A, Fullam EF. A study of tissue culture cells by electron microscopy. J Exp Med [serial online]. 1945;81:233-255. Available at: http://www.jem.org/cgi/reprint/81/3/233 Historical discussion of this image: Moberg CL. The electron microscope enters the realm of the intact cell. J Exp Med [serial online]. 1995; 181;829-837. Available at: http://www.jem.org/cgi/reprint/181/3/831

Life of Keith Porter: Satir P. Keith Roberts Porter: 1912-1997. J Cell Biol [serial online]. 1997;138:223-224. Available at: http://www.jcb.org/cgi/reprint/138/2/223 McIntosh JR, Bonneville MA, Satir P. In memory of Keith Porter. ASCB Newsletter Member Obituaries (Archive). 1998. Available at: http://www.ascb.org/index.cfm?navid=111&id=1421&tcode=nws3 Guide to the Keith R. Porter Papers (1938-1993). University of Colorado at Boulder, University Libraries, Archives. Available at: http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/archives/guides/porter_guide.pdf

Citation Porter KR, Claude A, Fullam EF. First electron micrograph of an intact cell. ASCB Image & Video Library. August 2006:FND-1. Available at: http://cellimages.ascb.org/u?/p4041coll12,45

Publication Date Published in August 2006. Contributors Annotator: Lee D Peachey, (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA). Annotator: David L Ennist (ASCB Image & Video Library, Bethesda, MD). Original resource provided by Lee D Peachey. Work conducted at The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and The Research Laboratories, Interchemical Corporation, New York, NY.

Resource Type Still image Digital Format jp2; Digitization process: scanned as a 300 dpi tiff (3000 x 1410 pixels). Original Date Original image created on July 6, 1944. Original Format Original resource: montage of five prints (11.75 x 25.25 inches).

License Details Terms for non-commercial use: http://cellimages.ascb.org/cdm4/terms.php; for commercial use contact cellimages@ascb.org. Reproduced from The Journal of Cell Biology, 1945, Vol. 81, by copyright permission of The Rockefeller University Press, http://www.jcb.org/

Publisher The American Society for Cell Biology

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current13:26, 30 March 2009Thumbnail for version as of 13:26, 30 March 2009600 × 282 (35 KB)S8600021 (talk | contribs)Porter B. First Electron Micrograph of an Intact Cell Description In the original publication, the authors compared this image to others of similar magnification taken through the light microscope. They noted little improvement in the electron microscopi
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