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Specialized membrane junctions between neurons in the vertebrate cerebellar cortex.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Journal of cell biology
Publication Date
Volume
53
Issue
2
Pages
271–289
Identifiers
PMID: 4537207
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

"Gap" junctions, the morphological correlate for low-resistance junctions, are demonstrated between some mossy fiber terminals and granule cell dendrites in some lower vertebrate cerebella (gymnotid and frog). Most of the gap junctions (GJs) seen in the gymnotid-fish cerebellum exhibit an asymmetrical configuration, the electron-opaque cytoplasmic material underlying the junction being more extensive in the dendritic than in the axonal side. In the frog cerebellum, the GJs have a symmetrical distribution of such electron-opaque material. In both species the GJs are encountered at the same synaptic interface as the conventional synaptic zone (CSZ), constituting "mixed synapses" in a morphological sense. The axonal surface covered by CSZs is larger than that covered by GJs. In mammalian cerebellum, GJs are observed only in the molecular layer, between perikarya, dendrites, or perikarya and dendrites of the inhibitory interneurons. These GJs are intermixed with attachment plates and intermediary junctions interpreted as simply adhesive. In the mammalian cerebellum, a new type of junction which resembles the septate junctions (SJs) of invertebrate epithelia is observed between axonal branches forming the tip of the brush of basket fibers around the initial segment of the Purkinje cell axon. It is suggested that such junctions may be modified forms of septate junctions. The physiological implications of the possible existence of high-resistance cross-bridges between basket cell terminals, which may compartmentalize the extracellular space and thus regulate extracellular current flow, must be considered.

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