The fine structure of identified electrotonic synapses following increased coupling resistance. Academic Article uri icon


  • Gap junctions exist in the septa between the segments of the lateral giant axons in the ventral nerve cord of the crayfish Procambarus. A large increase in the resistance (uncoupling) of these gap junctions was brought about by mechanical injury to the axonal segments. Both thin sections and freeze-fracture preparations were used to monitor the morphological changes which occurred up to 45 min after injury. There was no apparent change in the organization (a loose polygonal array) of the intramembrane particles which make up the junctional complex up to 45 min after injury. In some instances, however, the intramembrane particles appeared to have moved away from the junctional area. Other junctional regions were internalized and appeared similar to what have been called annular gap junctions. Also at this time (20-25 min after injury), a dense cytoplasmic plug formed in uninjured axon near the junctional region. It is concluded that the gap junctions that exhibit a loose polygonal organization of the intramembrane particles may be either in a state of low resistance (coupled) or a state of high resistance (uncoupled).

publication date

  • 1984