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J Neurocytol. 1997 Aug;26(8):529-39.

Organization of the cortical endoplasmic reticulum in the squid giant axon.

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University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Ontario, Canada.


The organization of the cortical endoplasmic reticulum in the squid giant axon was investigated by rapid freeze and freeze-substitution electron microscopy, thereby eliminating the effects of fixatives on this potentially labile structure. Juvenile squid, which have thinner Schwann sheaths, were used in order to achieve freezing deep enough to include the entire axonal cortex. The smooth endoplasmic reticulum is composed of subaxolemmal and deeper cisternae, tubules, tethers and vesicles. The subaxolemmal cisternae make junctional contacts with the axolemma which are characterized by filamentous-granular bridging structures approximately 3 nm in diameter. The subaxolemmal junctions with the axolemma resemble the coupling junctions between the sarcoplasmic reticulum and the T-tubules in muscle. Reconstruction of short series of sections showed that a number of the elements of the endoplasmic reticulum were continuous but numerous separate vesicles were present as well. The morphology of endoplasmic reticulum as described here suggests that it is a highly dynamic entity as well as a Ca2+ sequestering organelle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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