Fine structure of the gap junction in the tunicate heart
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- Lorber, V. & Rayns, D.G. Cell Tissue Res. (1977) 179: 169. doi:10.1007/BF00219794
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The plasma membranes of the tunicate heart exhibit an abundance of macular gap junctions distributed widely over the membrane surface. A study of these junctions by the freeze-etch technique was undertaken in an effort to elucidate the fine structure of this important membrane modification in a primitive heart. In cross or near-cross fractured junctions the junctional particles in contiguous membranes appear to be paired in register and to meet in the midline. In favorable face views, the junctional particles are seen to be disposed in hexagonal array. The individual particles display a distinct rosette-like substructure consistent with a six-membered ring of globular protein molecules clustered around a central channel. Similar junctional-type particles can be found in nonjunctional areas of membrane suggesting that the transport mechanism which they may represent is not restricted to the gap junction.