Multiple structural types of gap junctions in mouse lens. Academic Article uri icon


  • Gap junctions in the epithelium and superficial fiber cells from young mice were examined in lenses prepared by rapid-freezing, and processed for freeze-substitution and freeze-fracture electron microscopy. There appeared to be three structural types of gap junction: one type between epithelial cells and two types between fiber cells. Epithelial gap junctions seen by freeze-substitution were approximately 20 nm thick and consistently associated with layers of dense material lying along both cytoplasmic surfaces. Fiber gap junctions, in contrast, were 15-16 nm (type 1) or 17-18 nm thick (type 2), and had little associated cytoplasmic material. Type 1 fiber gap junctions were extensive in flat expanses of cell membrane and had a thin, discontinuous central lamina, whereas type 2 fiber gap junctions were associated with the ball-and-socket domains and exhibited a dense, continuous central lamina. Both types of fiber gap junction had a diffuse arrangement of junctional intramembrane particles, whereas particles and pits of epithelial gap junctions were in a tight, hexagonal configuration. The type 2 fiber gap junctions, however, had a larger particle size (approximately 9 nm) than the type 1 (approximately 7.5 nm). In addition, a large number of junctional particles typified the E-faces of both fiber types but not the epithelial type of gap junction. Gap junctions between fiber and epithelial cells had structural features of type 1 fiber gap junctions.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

publication date

  • September 1993