The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 39–54

Intercellular communication and tissue growth: IX. Junctional membrane structure of hybrids between communication-competent and communication-incompetent cells

  • W. J. Larsen
  • R. Azarnia
  • W. R. Loewenstein


The structure of the membrane junctions of the hybrid cell system, examined in the companion paper in respect to competence for communication through cell-to-cell membrane channels, is here examined by freeze-fracture electron microscopy. The junctions of the channel-competent parent cell and of the channel-competent hybrid cells present aggregates of intramembranous particles typical of “gap junction”; those of the channel-incompetent parent cell and channel-incompetent segregant hybrid cells do not. Competence for junctional communication and for gap junction formation are genetically related. The junctions of the intermediate hybrid cells with incomplete channel-competence (characterized by cell-to-cell transfer of small inorganic ions but not of fluorescein), present special intramembranous fibrillar structures instead of discrete gap-junctional particles. The possibility that these structures may constitute coupling elements with subnormal permeability is discussed in terms of incomplete dominance of the genetic determinants of gap junction.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Azarnia, R., Larsen, W., Loewenstein, W.R. 1974. The membrane junctions in communicating and non-communicating cells, their hybrids and segregants.Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 71:880PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Azarnia, R., Loewenstein, W.R. 1977. Intercellular communication and tissue growth. VIII. A genetic analysis of junctional communication and cancerous growth.J. Membrane Biol. 34:1Google Scholar
  3. Branton, D., Gilula, N.B., Karnovsky, M.V., Moore, H., Muhlentaler, K., Northcote, D.H., Packer, L., Jatir, B., Satir, P., Speth, V., Staehelin, L.A., Steare, R.L., Weinstein, R.S. 1975. Freeze-etching nomenclature.Science 190:54PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Chalcroft, J.P., Bullivant, S. 1970. An interpretation of liver cell membrane and junction structure based on observations of freeze-fractured replicas of both sides of the fracture.J. Cell Biol. 47:49PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Délèze, J., Loewenstein, W.R. 1976. Permeability of a cell junction during intracellular injection of divalent cations.J. Membrane Biol. 28:71Google Scholar
  6. Gilula, N.B. 1974. Junctions between cells.In: Cell Communication. R.P. Cox, editor. John Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Goodenough, D.A., Revel, J.P. 1970. A fine structural analysis of intercellular junctions in the mouse liver.J. Cell Biol. 45:272PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. McNutt, N.S., Weinstein, R.S. 1970. The ultrastructure of the nexus, a correlated thinsection and freeze-cleave study.J. Cell Biol. 47:666PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. McNutt, N.S., Weinstein, R.S. 1973. Membrane ultrastructure at mammalian intercellular junction.Prog. Biophys. Mol. Biol. 26:45PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Peracchia, C. 1973. Low resistance junctions in crayfish. II. Structural details and further evidence for intercellular channels by freeze-fracture and negative staining.J. Cell Biol. 57:66PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Peracchia, C., Fernandez-Jaimovich, M. 1975. Isolation of intramembrane particles from gap junctions.J. Cell Biol. 67:330aGoogle Scholar
  12. Revel, J.P., Karnovsky, M.J. 1967. Hexagonal array of subunits in intercellular junctions of the mouse heart and liver.J. Cell Biol. 33:C7PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Revel, J.P., Yee, A.G., Hudspeth, A.J. 1971. Gap junctions between electrotonically coupled cells.Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 68:2924PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Robertson, J.D. 1963. The occurrence of a subunit pattern in the unit membranes of club endings in Mauthner cell synapses in goldfish brains.J. Cell Biol. 19:201PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Rose, B., Simpson, I., Loewenstein, W.R. 1977. Calcium ion produces graded changes in permeability of membrane channels in cell junction.Nature (London) (in press) Google Scholar
  16. Staehelin, L.A. 1972. Three types of gap junctions interconnecting intestinal epithelial cells visualized by freeze-etching.Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 69:1318PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Weibel, E.R., Kistler, G.S., Scherle, W.F. 1966. Practical stereological methods.J. Cell Biol. 30:23PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Yee, A.G., Revel, J.P. 1975. Endothelial cell junctions.J. Cell Biol. 66:200PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. J. Larsen
    • 1
  • R. Azarnia
    • 1
  • W. R. Loewenstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and BiophysicsUniversity of Miami School of MedicineMiami
  2. 2.Department of AnatomyUniversity of IowaIowa City

Personalised recommendations