Nature 444, 102-105 (2 November 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature05250; Received 11 May 2006; Accepted 14 September 2006; Published online 25 October 2006

Two modes of fusion pore opening revealed by cell-attached recordings at a synapse

Liming He1, Xin-Sheng Wu1, Raja Mohan1 & Ling-Gang Wu1

  1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 35 Convent Drive, Building 35, Room 2B-1012, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA

Correspondence to: Ling-Gang Wu1 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to L.G.W. (Email: wul@ninds.nih.gov).

Fusion of a vesicle with the cell membrane opens a pore that releases transmitter to the extracellular space1, 2, 3. The pore can either dilate fully so that the vesicle collapses completely, or close rapidly to generate 'kiss-and-run' fusion1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7. The size of the pore determines the release rate2. At synapses, the size of the fusion pore is unclear, 'kiss-and-run' remains controversial8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and the ability of 'kiss-and-run' fusion to generate rapid synaptic currents16, 17 is questionable18. Here, by recording fusion pore kinetics during single vesicle fusion, we found both full collapse and 'kiss-and-run' fusion at calyx-type synapses. For full collapse, the initial fusion pore conductance (Gp) was usually >375 pS and increased rapidly at greater than or equal to299 pS ms–1. 'Kiss-and-run' fusion was seen as a brief capacitance flicker (<2 s) with Gp >288 pS for most flickers, but within 15–288 pS for the remaining flickers. Large Gp (>288 pS) might discharge transmitter rapidly and thereby cause rapid synaptic currents, whereas small Gp might generate slow and small synaptic currents. These results show that 'kiss-and-run' fusion occurs at synapses and that it can generate rapid postsynaptic currents, and suggest that various fusion pore sizes help to control the kinetics and amplitude of synaptic currents.


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