What appear to be true septate junctions by all techniques currently available for the cytological identification of intercellular junctions are part of a complex junction that interconnects the Sertoli cells of the canine testis. In the seminiferous epithelium, septate junctions are located basal to belts of tight junctions. In thin sections, septate junctions appear as double, parallel, transverse connections or septa spanning an approximately 90-A intercellular space between adjacent Sertoli cells. In en face sections of lanthanum-aldehyde-perfused specimens, the septa themselves exclude lanthanum and appear as electron-lucent lines arranged in a series of double, parallel rows on a background of electron-dense lanthanum. In freeze-fracture replicas this vertebrate septate junction appears as double, parallel rows of individual or fused particles which conform to the distribution of the intercellular septa. Septate junctions can be clearly distinguished from tight junctions as tight junctions prevent the movement of lanthanum tracer toward the lumen, appear as single rows of individual or fused particles in interlacing patterns within freeze-fracture replicas, and are seen as areas of close membrane apposition in thin sections. Both the septate junction and the tight junction are associated with specializations of the Sertoli cell cytoplasm. This is the first demonstration in a vertebrate tissue of a true septate junction.

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