The purification of gap junctions from insects has been hampered by low yields when starting with dissected tissues or by contamination with non-junctional structures when starting with intact insects. A method is described here involving filtration and sonication of NaOH-extracted crude membrane fractions from larvae of the lepidopteran Heliothis virescens which yields fractions containing ∼50% gap junctions and ∼7 μg total protein per g of larvae and represents an estimated 10-100 fold increase in gap junction enrichment compared with a previously described procedure (Cell Tissue Res. 274: 393-403, 1993). The remaining structures in the fractions consist of non-junctional membrane, septate junctions, lamellate bodies and amorphous material. © 1995 Pearson Professional Ltd.
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