On gap junction structure.
We have studied the stain distribution within rat liver gap junctions for specimens prepared by thin sectioning and negative staining. Pools of stain molecules exist in two specific locations with respect to the distinctive morphological units (connexons) of the junction. One pool of stain surrounds the connexons and is restricted to the extracellular space in the gap between the adjacent plasma membranes. The other pool of stain is located along in the central axis of each connexon, measures 1-2 nm in diameter and 4-5 nm in length, and is restricted to the gap region. On rare occasions, barely discernible linear densities seem to extend from this latter pool of stain and traverse the entire width of the junction. The data indicate the existence of a hydrophilic cavity along the central axis of te connexon which, in most instances, is restricted to the gap region. However, the precise depth to which this cavity may further extend along the connexon axis is still uncertain.
Zampighi, G; Corless, JM; Robertson, JD
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