Ribosomes in the squid giant axon

R. Bleher, R. Martin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Ribosome clusters, referred to as endoaxoplasmic plaques, were documented and quantitatively analyzed in the squid giant axon at the light and electron microscopic levels. The methods included nonspecific high affinity fluorescence staining of RNA by YOYO-1, specific immunofluorescence labeling of ribosomal RNA, electron energy loss spectroscopic mapping of ribosomal phosphorus, and conventional transmission electron microscopy. The endoaxoplasmic plaques were sharply defined, oval in shape, and less than 2 μm in diameter. While they were very numerous in the postsynaptic axonal area of the giant synapse, the frequency of occurrence was much lower in the peripheral giant axon, with a density of about 1 plaque/1000 μm3. Their distribution was random within axoplasm, with no preferential localization near the membrane. The several thousand ribosomes in a plaque usually were not membrane bound, but vesicular structures were observed in or near plaques; plaques were often surrounded by mitochondria. We conclude that ribosomes, a requisite machinery for protein synthesis, are present in the squid giant axon in discrete configurations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-534
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 23 2001


  • Clusters of ribosomes
  • Distribution
  • Frequency
  • Peripheral giant axon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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