Intramembrane faces were visualized in the marine dinoflagellate Gonyaulax polyedra by the freeze-fracture technique, in order to test a prediction of a membrane model for circadian oscillations--i.e;, that membrane particle distribution and size change with time in the circadian cycle. Cells from each of four cell suspensions in continuous light (500 1x, 20-21 degrees C) were frozen, without fixation or cryoprotection, at four circadian times in a cycle. This paper reports findings concerning the membranes associated with the theca, particularly the cytoplasmic membrane and the membrane of the large peripheral vesicle. While the number and size distribution of the particles of the PF face of the cytoplasmic membrane were constant with time, those of the EF face of the peripheral vesicle doubled in number at 18 h circadian time as compared with 06 h. Particles of the 120-A size class, in particular, were more numerous at 12 and 18 h circadian time than at 00 and 06 h. While the finding does not provide definitive confirmation of the membrane hypothesis for circadian rhythms, it is consistent with this model. It is suggested that the peripheral vesicle may be the site of bioluminescence in Gonyaulax.

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