• Article

Junctional ultrastructure in isolated synaptic membranes

The ultrastructure of synaptic junctions in whole brain tissue and isolated synaptic membranes has been compared. Type 1 junctions are present in the isolated membranes,readily identified by the presence of dense-staining material associated with the postsynaptic membrane, but the dense projections present at the presynaptic membrane in intact tissue are absent. Type 2 junctions are not easily recognized because of the absence of prominent junctional densities, but apposed membranes with the appearance of type 2 junctions are seen in isolated membrane preparations. Junctions without dense-staining material are also seen among SYNAPtosomes and survive the hypotonic conditions used during isolation of the membranes. It thus seems probable that both type 1 and 2 junctions are present in isolated synaptic membrane preparations. In type 1 junctions after isolation,the postsynaptic thickening and cleft substance are together seen to be composed of an array of 200 A dense-staining subunits spanning the postsynaptic unit membrane. The relationship of this structure to the ultrastructure of the cleft substance and postsynapticthickening in intact tissue is discussed.


Matus, A. I., Walters, B., & Jones, D. H. (1975). Junctional ultrastructure in isolated synaptic membranes. Journal of Neurocytology, 4(3), 357-367.