Transfer of molecules from glia to axon in the squid may be mediated by glial vesicles.
Although the transfer of glial proteins into the squid giant axon is well documented, the mechanism of the transfer remains unknown. We examined the possibility that the transfer involved membrane-bound vesicles, by taking advantage of the fact that the fluorescent compound, 3,6-acridinediamine, N,N,N,',N'-tetramethylmonohydride [acridine orange (AO)], rapidly and selectively stains vesicular structures in glial cells surrounding the giant axon. We labeled cleaned axons (1-3 cm long) by incubation for 1 min in filtered seawater (FSW) containing AO. Because the AO was concentrated in glial vesicular organelles, these fluoresced bright orange when the axon was examined by epifluorescence microscopy. To look for vesicle transfer, axoplasm was extruded from such AO-treated axons at various times after labeling. During the initial 15 min, an increasing number of fluorescent vesicles were observed. No further increases were observed between 15 and 60 min post AO. The transfer of the fluorescent vesicles into the axoplasm seemed to be energy dependent, as it was inhibited in axons treated with 2 mM KCN. These results suggest that a special mode of exchange exists between the adaxonal glia and the axon, perhaps involving phagocytosis by the axon of small portions of the glial cells.
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