Thin-section, tracer, and freeze-cleave experiments on hypophysectomized Rana pipiens larvae reveal that gap junctions form between differentiating ependymoglial cells in response to thyroid hormone. These junctions assemble in large particle-free areas of the plasma membrane known as formation plaques. Between 20 and 40 h after hormone application, formation plaque area increases approximately 26-fold while gap junction area rises about 20-fold. The differentiation of these junctions requires the synthesis of new protein and probably RNA as well. On the basis of inhibitor experiments, it can be reported that formation plaques develop at about 16-20 h after hormone treatment and stages in the construction of gap junctions appear 4-8 h later. These studies suggest that gap junction subunits are synthesized and inserted into formation plaque membrane during the differentiation of the anuran ependymoglial cells.

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