Application of black widow spider venom to the neuromuscular junction of the frog causes an increase in the frequency of miniature end-plate potentials (min.e.p.p.) and a reduction in the number of synaptic vesicles in the nerve terminal. Shortly after the increase in min.e.p.p. frequency, the presynaptic membrane of the nerve terminal has either infolded or "lifted." Examination of these infoldings or lifts reveals synaptic vesicles in various stages of fusion with the presynaptic membrane. After the supply of synaptic vesicles has been exhausted, the presynaptic membrane returns to its original position directly opposite the end-plate membrane. The terminal contains all of its usual components with the exception of the synaptic vesicles. The only other alteration of the structures making up the neuromuscular junction occurs in the axon leading to the terminal. Instead of completely filling out its Schwann sheath, the axon has pulled away and its axoplasm appears to be denser than the control. The relation of these events to the vesicle hypothesis is discussed.

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