Permeability and Structure of Junctional Membranes at an Electrotonic Synapse

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Science  26 Dec 1969:
Vol. 166, Issue 3913, pp. 1641-1643
DOI: 10.1126/science.166.3913.1641


The dye Procion Yellow M4RS crosses junctional membranes from cytoplasm to cytoplasm at electrotonic synapses between segments of the crayfish septate axon. The dye does not enter the cells from extracellular space. Thus permeability of junctional membranes is qualitatively different from that of nonjunctional membranes. Electron microscopy after fixation in the presence of lanthanum hydroxide indicates that these synapses are "gap junctions" and that there is a network of channels continuous with extracellular space between apposed junctional membranes. These channels must be interlaced with intercytoplasmic channels that are not open to extracellular space.

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