Somatic muscle cells of Ascaris lumbricoides consist of three differently specialized components referred to as the fiber, which contains the contractile apparatus (described previously), the belly, and the arm. The belly is shown to be a sac of glycogen, which is depleted during starvation of the animal. The arm extends to a nerve cord where it establishes a myoneural junction characterized by giant mitochondria and clusters of vesicles in the nerve fibers and by a 500 A neuromuscular gap. The arms, which have been shown to be "electrically interconnected" in the vicinity of the nerve cord, form "tight junctions" with one another in just this region. At high magnification, these junctions can be resolved into several types. In some there is fusion of the outer leaflets of the membranes with formation of an intermediate line. Others resemble septate desmosomes in that a residual extracellular space ∼20 A in width remains between the membranes, but the outer leaflets are interconnected across the gap. It is suggested that the term "tight junction" encompasses a variety of structures distinguishable only at high magnification and that the different variations are not necessarily equivalent functionally.

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