End-plate membrane has been examined at amphibian myoneural junctions by means of transmission electron microscopy of thin tissue sections. The postjunctional membrane exhibits morphologically specialized dense, convex patches which are located superficially facing the axon terminal but do not extend into the depths of the junctional folds. In the specialized regions the plasma membrane is ∼ 120 Å thick and trilaminar. The outer dense lamina is thickened by the presence in it of granular elements ∼60–120 Å in diameter which are spaced semiregularly at ∼100–150-Å intervals and which border the junctional cleft directly. In these regions the concentration of the granules is of the order of ∼ 104/µm2, which is in the same range as the estimated concentration of receptor sites at other vertebrate cholinergic junctions. Filamentous projections can sometimes be seen extending from the granules to the overlying basement membrane, and in oblique views a reticular pattern may appear both in these patches and in the basement membrane. The cytoplasmic surface of the specialized membrane is covered with an amorphous and filamentous dense material whose distribution coincides with that of the granules visible in the outer layer and which may be connected to them across the membrane. In unosmicated specimens stained with permanganate and uranyl acetate the specialized regions exhibit the same morphological features but stand out sharply in contrast to adjacent areas of unspecialized membrane which appear only faintly. Such preparations are particularly useful in assessing the extent of the specialized membrane. It is proposed that the granules visible at the outer surface of the end-plate membrane represent acetylcholine receptors and that in amphibians, as in annelids, the receptors at myoneural junctions are concentrated into patches which occupy less than the total postjunctional membrane surface area.
SUBSTRUCTURE OF AMPHIBIAN MOTOR END PLATE : Evidence for a Granular Component Projecting from the Outer Surface of the Receptive Membrane
Jack Rosenbluth; SUBSTRUCTURE OF AMPHIBIAN MOTOR END PLATE : Evidence for a Granular Component Projecting from the Outer Surface of the Receptive Membrane . J Cell Biol 1 September 1974; 62 (3): 755–766. doi: https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.62.3.755
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