Electron micrographs of outer doublet tubules from flagella have been analysed by methods which make use of the computed diffraction patterns of electron-microscope images. Analysis of singlet A-tubules in the tips of flagella has led to a determination of the helical surface lattice of the A-subfibre, confirming that there are 13 longitudinal protofilaments in the tubule wall and that dimers in neighbouring protofilaments form a staggered arrangement, equivalent to the lattice with an axial periodicity of 8.0 nm predicted in earlier work. A low-resolution 3-dimensional image of the A-tubule has been reconstructed, which supports the evidence for an 8.0-nm-long heterodimer oriented along the protofilaments. The heterodimer is identified as a pair of 4.0-nm morphological units, which appear to be globular at this resolution.
Filtered images have been obtained from doublet tubules which show that the B-subfibre is also made up of 8.0-nm dimers, but it differs from the A-tubule in that dimers in adjacent filaments are not in a staggered arrangement but are lined up obliquely at a shallow angle. Using the additional information about the hands of the lattices in the 2 subfibres which is presented in the accompanying paper, a model for the whole doublet has been proposed.