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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Apr 29;94(9):4745-50.

Repair of plasmalemmal lesions by vesicles.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77555-0641, USA.


Crayfish medial giant axons (MGAs) transected in physiological saline form vesicles which interact with each other, pre-existing vesicles, and/or with the plasmalemma to form an electrical and a physical barrier that seals a cut axonal end within 60 min. The formation of this barrier (seal) was assessed by measuring the decay of injury current at the cut end; its location at the cut end was determined by the exclusion of fluorescent hydrophilic dye at the cut end. When a membrane-incorporating styryl dye was placed in the bath prior to axonal transection and a hydrophilic dye was placed in the bath just after axonal transection, many vesicles near the barrier at the cut axonal end had their limiting membrane labeled with the styryl dye and their contents labeled with the hydrophilic dye, indicating that these vesicles originated from the axolemma by endocytosis. This barrier does not form in Ca2+-free salines. Similar collections of vesicles have been observed at regions of plasmalemmal damage in many cell types. From these and other data, we propose that plasmalemmal lesions in most eukaryotic cells (including axons) are repaired by vesicles, at least some of which arise by endocytosis induced by Ca2+ inflow resulting from the plasmalemmal damage. We describe several models by which vesicles could interact with each other and/or with intact or damaged regions of the plasmalemma to repair small (1-30 microm) plasmalemmal holes or a complete transection of the plasmalemma.

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