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J Electron Microsc (Tokyo). 2006 Apr;55(2):63-8. Epub 2006 Jun 23.

The relationship between intramembranous particles and aquaporin molecules in the plasma membranes of normal rat skeletal muscles: a fracture-label study.

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Department of Neurology, Showa University Fujigaoka Hospital 1-30 Fujigaoka, Aoba-Ku, Yokohama 227-8501, Japan.


The plasma membrane of skeletal muscles contains water channels such as aquaporin 4 (AQP4), aquaporin 3 (AQP3) and aquaporin 7 (AQP7). In dehydrated mice, we have recently reported the altered distribution of the aggregations of intramembranous particles (IMPs), such as orthogonal array (a crystal-like structure) and IMP cluster (a rosette-like structure) on the freeze-fractured skeletal muscle plasma membranes. In this fracture-label study, we first tested whether the orthogonal arrays (OAs) were composed of AQP4 in skeletal muscles and further analyzed the relationship between IMPs including IMP clusters and AQP3 molecules. As a result, many of the gold particles indicating AQP4 was associated with OAs (79%) by our fracture-label technique. On the other hand, approximately 50% of gold particles indicating AQP3 were associated with IMP clusters. Thus we confirmed that the OAs are composed of AQP4 in skeletal muscles, and further demonstrated that some of the IMP clusters are composed of AQP3 and may participate in maintaining osmotic homeostasis in skeletal myofibers. The fracture-label method is useful in investigating the molecular identification of membrane proteins such as AQP3 and AQP4.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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