alpha-Bungarotoxin labeling and acetylcholinesterase localization at the Mauthner fiber giant synapse in the hatchetfish. Academic Article uri icon


  • Autoradiographic and histochemical techniques have been used to characterize further the pharmacology of transmission at the Mauthner fiber giant synapse of the South American hatchetfish. [125I]alpha-Bungarotoxin was applied to hatchetfish medullae and a standard autoradiographic procedure was carried out on 3- to 4-microns sections of glutaraldehyde-fixed tissue. All Mauthner fiber giant synapses, as identified by light microscopic criteria, had closely associated silver grains. Labeling was blocked by d-tubocurarine. Glutaraldehyde-fixed slices of hatchetfish medulla were stained histochemically for acetylcholinesterase; all giant synapses that could be identified in the light microscope showed heavy deposits of reaction product. Staining was blocked by diisopropyl-fluorophosphate, which inhibits both pseudocholinesterase and acetylcholinesterase, but was not blocked by tetraisopropylpyrophosphoramide, a specific pseudocholinesterase inhibitor. This evidence strongly supports the suggestion that the Mauthner fiber giant synapse is nicotinic cholinergic.

publication date

  • February 1983