A Molecular Basis for Regional Differentiation of the Excitable Membrane

  • Edward Koenig


Irrespective of the degree of complexity, the point of departure for an analysis of functional activity in the nervous system lies with the neuronal plasmalemma. This is a fundamental axiom of neurophysiology. It is based upon the fact that function is a bioelectrical phenomenon which derives its origin from intrinsic properties and activities of the excitable membrane. It follows, therefore, that any attempt to link a biochemical parameter to function must ultimately show an effect on membrane properties and/or biological activity. It is self-evident that such relationships can be established only after greater understanding has been achieved of the molecular biology of the excitable membrane. The classical paucimolecular model of membrane structure and organization, while having served its purpose well as a formative construct, must now be regarded as being anachronistic and too simplistic, especially in light of recent chemical and spectroscopic analyses of various membrane systems. However, in addition to the need to formulate new concepts regarding molecular organization and dynamics, another area concerning the membrane that must receive attention is the origin of membrane macromolecules (i.e., specification and synthesis of membrane proteins).


Schwann Cell Satellite Cell Outer Segment Nerve Cell Nucleus Excitable Membrane 
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© Meredith Corporation 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward Koenig
    • 1
  1. 1.State University of New York (Buffalo)BuffaloUSA

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