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*CIL – Cell Image Library accession number. Please use this to reference an image.

CIL:7621*  Cite 

Junctional complex between two cells in the epithelium of the rat intestinal mucosa. The tight junction (also known as zonula occludens, ZO) located nearest to the lumen extends from arrow 1 to arrow 2. The elimination of the intercellular gap (approx 90 angstroms) is clearly visible, but the fusion line of the two apposed membranes cannot be clearly distinguished at this magnification. The adherens junction (also known as zonula adherens, ZA) extends from arrow 3 to arrow 4. A relatively wide intercellular space (approx 200 angstroms) is maintained throughout this junction. Extensive actin filament networks are seen along both sides of the junction (Actin) which are continuous with the terminal web (TW) into which the filamentous rootlets of the mircovilli penetrate. Dense material (DM) can be seen along parts of both sides of the junction. The limits of a desmosome are marked by arrows 5 and 6. Desmosomes are characterized by a wide intracellular space (approx 240 angstroms) bisected by an intermediate line (id). Bundles of intermediate filaments (if, diameter approx 80 angstroms) converge into a dense plaque (DP) on each side of the desmosome. The trilaminar structure of the cell membrane (CM) is clearly seen along the microvilli (MV), between the ZA and the desmosome and within the desmosome. First description of 1) tight junctions and 2) the junctional complexes between epithelial cells, consisting of tight junction, adherens junction and a desmosome. Identical unlabeled image available as CIL# 7620. Image published as Figure 1 in Farquhar and Palade, 1963.

Technical Details

Fixative was injected into the intestinal lumen of a rat (3% osmium tetroxide buffered at pH 7.6 with acetate- veronal). Tissue may have also been fixed in potassium permanganate. Tissue blocks were embedded in Epon. Sections were stained with lead hydroxide. Micrograph was taken at original magnification of 96,000 X with a Siemens Elmiskop I, operating at 60 or 80 kv, with a double condenser, and a 50 µ objective aperture. Digitization process: conversion from a 1200 dpi tiff, 3820 x 3342 pixels. Original image created on January 5, 1962. Original resource provided as a 3.25 x 4 inch lantern slide. Research conducted at The Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research (New York, NY).

Biological Sources
NCBI Organism Classification
Rattus rattus
Cell Type
epithelial cell
intestinal epithelial cell
Cellular Component
zonula adherens
occluding junction
brush border membrane
actin filament
intermediate filament
plasma membrane
Marilyn G. Farquhar (University of California, San Diego, CA)
George E. Palade (University of California, San Diego, CA)
J Cell Biol 17: 375-412. 1963
Farquhar and Palade. 1963
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Archival Resource Key (ARK)
Grouping This image is part of a group.
Image Type
Image Mode
transmission electron microscopy (TEM)
illumination by electrons
detection of electrons
Parameters Imaged
electron density
Source of Contrast
differences in adsorption or binding of stain
Visualization Methods
lead salt
Processing History
digitized lantern slide
Data Qualifiers
processed data
suitable for spatial measurements
Sample Preparation
osmium tetroxide fixed tissue
Relation To Intact Cell
microtome-sectioned tissue
Spatial Axis Image Size Pixel Size
X 4800px 21.1667µm
Y 4199px 21.1667µm