Systematic heterogeneity of fractional vesicle pool sizes and release rates of hippocampal synapses

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Hippocampal neurons in tissue culture develop functional synapses that exhibit considerable variation in synaptic vesicle content (20-350 vesicles). We examined absolute and fractional parameters of synaptic vesicle exocytosis of individual synapses. Their correlation to vesicle content was determined by activity-dependent discharge of FM-styryl dyes. At high frequency stimulation (30 Hz), synapses with large recycling pools released higher amounts of dye, but showed a lower fractional release compared to synapses that contained fewer vesicles. This effect gradually vanished at lower frequencies when stimulation was triggered at 20 Hz and 10 Hz, respectively. Live-cell antibody staining with anti-synaptotagmin-1-cypHer 5, and overexpression of synaptopHluorin as well as photoconversion of FM 1-43 followed by electron microscopy, consolidated the findings obtained with FM-styryl dyes. We found that the readily releasable pool grew with a power function with a coefficient of 2/3, possibly indicating a synaptic volume/surface dependency. This observation could be explained by assigning the ratelimiting factor for vesicle exocytosis at high frequency stimulation to the available active zone surface that is proportionally smaller in synapses with larger volumes. © 2011 by the Biophysical Society.




Welzel, O., Henkel, A. W., Stroebel, A. M., Jung, J., Tischbirek, C. H., Ebert, K., … Groemer, T. W. (2011). Systematic heterogeneity of fractional vesicle pool sizes and release rates of hippocampal synapses. Biophysical Journal, 100(3), 593–601.

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