Junctional coupling was assessed during the transition from the fourth to the fifth cell cycle of mouse embryogenesis by injection of the dye carboxyfluorescein and by measurement of electrical continuity between cells. Junctional coupling, which arises de novo in early 8-cell mouse embryos, subsequently becomes reduced towards the end of the cell cycle as the blastomeres enter into mitosis. Arrest of the cell cycle in metaphase by nocodazole, an inhibitor of tubulin polymerization, reveals that cell coupling becomes undetectable at mitosis. Junctional coupling then is resumed during interphase of the 16-cell stage. Nocodazole itself has no effect on junctional coupling in interphase cells, regardless of the extent of intercellular flattening, whereas taxol, a microtubule-stabilizing agent, does reduce the extent of coupling in interphase cells.

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