Electrical coupling between cells of the insect Aedes albopictus.

F. Bukauskas, C. Kempf, R. Weingart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


1. Cell pairs of an insect cell line (Aedes albopictus, clone C6/36) were used to study the electrical properties of intercellular junctions. A double voltage‐clamp approach was adopted to control the voltage gradient between the cells and measure the intracellular current flow. 2. Determinations of junctional conductance (gj) revealed two types of intercellular contacts, gap junctions and cytoplasmic bridges. Identification occurred by means of functional criteria, i.e. the dependency of gj on (i) junctional membrane potential, (ii) non‐junctional membrane potential, and (iii) heptanol. 3. In cell pairs with putative gap junctions, gj was dependent on the junctional membrane potential (Vj). When determined at the beginning of voltage pulses, gj was insensitive to Vj; when determined at the end of 15 s pulses, it depended on Vj in a bell‐shaped manner (70% decrease for a change in Vj of +/‐ 75 mV). 4. These cell pairs also showed a dependency of gj on the non‐junctional membrane potential (Vm). When determined immediately after changing the non‐junctional membrane potential in both cells, gj was not affected by Vm; when determined 30 s later, gj was modified by Vm in a S‐shaped fashion (100% decrease when Vm was depolarized to +50 mV). 5. Exposure to 3 mM‐heptanol gave rise to complete and reversible block of gj in cell pairs with putative gap junctions. 6. Cell pairs susceptible to uncoupling by heptanol revealed junctional currents indicative of the operation of gap junction channels. The single‐channel conductance, determined at a Vm of ‐50 to ‐70 mV, was 133 pS. 7. In the case of putative cytoplasmic bridges, gj was insensitive to the junctional and non‐junctional membrane potential. In addition, it was not affected by 3 mM‐heptanol. 8. While most cell pairs showed functional properties characteristic of gap junctions or cytoplasmic bridges, few cell pairs exhibited junctional currents compatible with the co‐existence of both junctional structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-337
Number of pages17
JournalThe Journal of Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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