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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The structure of mixed synapses in Mauthner neurons during exposure to substances altering gap junction conductivity.

The aim of the present work was to study the effects of dopamine, ecdysone, and chlorpromazine, substances which alter the conductivity of gap junctions (GJ), on the ultrastructure of mixed synapses in goldfish Mauthner neurons. These studies showed that dopamine, which increased the electrical conductivity of mixed synapses, appeared to target desmosome-like contacts (DLC). Hypertrophy of DLC, along with increases in the numbers of bridges within their clefts, showed that the mechanism by which dopamine increased electrical conductivity involved neuronal actin. This was indicated by the transformation of isolated monomeric muscle actin into polymerized actin in the presence of dopamine. Conversely, GJ were degraded by dopamine. Ecdysone, which also increased GJ conductivity, altered GJ structure, increasing the numbers of GJ at the attachment zone and decreasing the sectional length. but had virtually no effect on DLC structure. Ecdysone also showed no interaction with DLC in in vitro conditions. The mechanism of action of ecdysone is thus associated primarily with GJ function. Chlorpromazine, which decreased GJ conductivity, partially or completely degraded the fibrillar juxtamembrane material of DLC, preventing actin polymerization, with corresponding in vitro effects, but produced no changes in GJ. The mechanism of its action therefore appears to be based on changes in the state of neuronal actin.[1]


  1. The structure of mixed synapses in Mauthner neurons during exposure to substances altering gap junction conductivity. Pavlik, L.L., Bezgina, E.N., Tiras, N.R., Mikheeva, I.B., Udal'tsov, S.N., Moshkov, D.A. Neurosci. Behav. Physiol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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