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Nature. 1986 May 1-7;321(6065):63-6.

Fluorescently labelled Na+ channels are localized and immobilized to synapses of innervated muscle fibres.


Segregation of voltage-dependent sodium channels to the hillock of motoneurones and nodes of Ranvier in myelinated axons is crucial for conduction of the nerve impulse. Much less is known, however, about the distribution of voltage-dependent Na+ channels on muscle fibres. Recently, Beam et al. have shown that Na+ channels are concentrated near the neuromuscular junction. To determine the topography and mechanisms governing the distribution of voltage-dependent Na+ channels on muscle, microfluorimetry and fluorescence photobleach recovery (FPR) have now been used to measure the density and lateral mobility of fluorescently labelled Na+ channels on uninnervated and innervated muscle fibres. On uninnervated myotubes, Na+ channels are diffusely distributed and freely mobile, whereas after innervation the channels concentrate at neuronal contact sites. These channels are immobile and co-localize with acetylcholine receptors (AChRs). At extrajunctional regions the Na+ channel density is lower and the channels more mobile. The results suggest that the nerve induces Na+ channels to redistribute, immobilize and co-localize with AChRs at sites of neuronal contact.

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