Physical fixation by rapid freezing followed by freeze-fracture and deep-etching has provided the means for potentially seeing the three-dimensional arrangement in the native state of particles on mitochondrial inner membranes. We have used these techniques to study the tubular cristae of Paramecium in the hope of determining the arrangement of F1 complexes, their abundance, and location in the membranes. We also sought information regarding other respiratory complexes in these membranes. Our results, supported by stereo pairs, show that F1 complexes are arranged as a double row of particles spaced at 12 nm along each row as a zipper following the full length of the outer curve of the helically shaped tubular cristae. There are an average of 1,500 highly ordered F1 complexes per micrometer squared of 50-nm tubular cristae surface. The F1 complexes definitely lie outside the membranes in their native state. Other particle subsets, also nonrandomly arrayed, were seen. One such population located along the inner helical curve consisted of large 13-nm-wide particles that were spaced at 30 nm center-to-center. Such particles, because of their large size and relative abundance when compared to F1 units, resemble complex I of the respiratory complexes. Any models attempting to understand the coupling of respiratory complexes with F0F1 ATPase in Paramecium must take into account a relatively high degree of order and potential immobility of at least some of these integral membrane complexes.

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