Smooth septate junctions in the midgut of Musca domestica and in Malpighian tubules of both Musca and Rhodnius prolixus are described. Details of the structures revealed after standard fixation, fixation in the presence of the stain, lanthanum hydroxide, and after freeze-fracture are discussed in the light of models previously put forward to explain the interrelations of the images obtained by these different methods. The organization of the junction between cells of the midgut varies in the apical-to-basal axis. At the apical border the septa (or ridges in freeze-fracture replicas) are packed tightly and follow an undulating but strictly parallel course. This packing loosens towards the middle of the junction until, at its basal extremity, the septa (ridges in replicas) are widely separated and follow independent meandering courses. That these features are found both in lanthanum-infiltrated specimens and freeze-fracture replicas allows a correlation to be made between the septa and the freeze-fracture ridges. The functional significance of these smooth septate junctions is discussed.
- © 1979 by Company of Biologists