This investigation deals with the localization of sites of ATPase activity, especially of transport ATPase, in nerve fibers of the squid Doryteuthis plei, at the subcellular level. Splitting of ATP liberates inorganic phosphate which reacts with lead to form a precipitate in the tissue. The reaction was made on nerve fibers fixed with glutaraldehyde. Frozen slices were incubated in Wachstein-Meisel medium containing ATP and Pb(NO3)2. Deposits of reaction product were found in the axolemma (towards its axoplasmic side), Schwann cell membranes (mainly at the channels crossing the layer), and mitochondria. Control experiments revealed that no deposits were observed in nerve fibers fixed in osmium tetroxide prior to incubation in the medium containing ATP, or in nerve fibers incubated without substrate or with adenosine monophosphate, adenosine diphosphate, glycerophosphate, or guanosine triphosphate as substrate. For evaluation of transport ATPase activity, these findings were compared with results obtained with nerve fibers treated with G-strophanthin or K-strophanthoside before or after glutaraldehyde fixation. The cardiac glycosides produced a disappearance or diminution of the deposits. The largest inhibitory effect was observed in the axolemma. The findings indicate that the highest ATPase activity is localized in the axolemma and may be due primarily to transport ATPase.

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