High mobility of vesicles supports continuous exocytosis at a ribbon synapse

Current Biology : CB
Matthew HoltLeon Lagnado

Abstract

Most synapses release neurotransmitter as transient pulses, but ribbon synapses of sensory neurons support continuous exocytosis in response to maintained stimulation. We have investigated how the movement and retrieval of vesicles might contribute to continuous exocytosis at the ribbon synapse of retinal bipolar cells. Using a combination of total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching, we found that the great majority of vesicles within 50-120 nm of the plasma membrane move in a random fashion with an effective diffusion coefficient of approximately 1.5 x 10(-2) microm(2) s(-1). Using confocal microscopy, we found that vesicles are similarly mobile across the whole terminal and that this motion is not altered by calcium influx or the actin cytoskeleton. We calculated that the cytoplasmic reservoir of approximately 300,000 vesicles would generate about 900 vesicle collisions/s against ribbons and 28,000 collisions/s against the surface membrane. The efficient resupply of vesicles to ribbons was confirmed by electron microscopy. A 1 min depolarization, releasing 500-1000 vesicles/s, caused a 70% reduction in the number of vesicles docked at the active zone without reducing the...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Photoreceptors
Ringer's solution
Presynaptic Terminals
Calcium [EPC]
Physiologic Pulse
Neurotransmitter Secretion
Endocytosis
Sectioning Technique
Calcium
Cytoplasmic Vesicles

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