Experimental alteration of coupling resistance at an electrotonic synapse

Y. Asada, M. V.L. Bennett

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Abstract

Adjacent segments of the septate axon of the crayfish Procambarus are electrotonically coupled by junction located in the septa between them (see Pappas et al. 1970. J. Cell Biol. 49: 173). The coupling resistance at the septa was changed by several experimental treatments. Mechanical injury to an axon increased coupling resistance (more than 7-fold); no recovery of coupling resistance was observed, although the resting potential and resistance of the injured axon could return to near normal levels. Immersion in salines with Na propionate substituted for NaCl increased coupling resistance (mean: 6.1-fold). On return of the preparation to normal saline, coupling resistance recovered virtually completely. Immersion in low Ca++ solutions moderately increased coupling resistance (3.5-fold or less), but return to normal saline was followed by large increases in coupling resistance (5-100-fold). 60 nM Ca++ is near the maximum concentration that leads to increased coupling resistance on return to normal saline. Large increases in coupling resistance are associated with separation of junctional membranes (Pappas et al. 1970. Ibid.); calculations show that the separated membranes greatly increase in resistance. Increase in coupling resistance is probably an important response to injury. Mechanisms underlying changes reported here may be relevant to normal physiological processes of coupling and decoupling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-172
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 1971

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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