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The same synaptic vesicles drive active and spontaneous release


Synaptic vesicles release neurotransmitter both actively (on stimulation) and spontaneously (at rest). It has been assumed that identical vesicles use both modes of release; however, recent evidence has challenged this view. Using several assays (FM dye imaging, pHluorin imaging and antibody-labeling of synaptotagmin) in neuromuscular preparations from Drosophila, frog and mouse, as well as rat cultured neurons, we found that the same vesicles participate in active and spontaneous release.

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Figure 1: Synaptic vesicle recycling was visualized with FM 1-43.
Figure 2: Repeated recycling visualized with synaptotagmin antibodies.
Figure 3: Synaptic vesicle recycling visualized with spH.


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We thank R. Schmidt, A. Egner and U. Böhm (Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry) for isoSTED imaging. We thank K. Ebert, C. Schäfer and K. Kröhnert for expert technical assistance. The work was supported by a Starting Grant from the European Research Council, Program FP7 to S.O.R. (NANOMAP). T.W.G. acknowledges the support of the Interdisciplinary Center of Clinical Research at the University Hospital of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.

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B.G.W., T.W.G. and S.O.R. designed and performed experiments. B.G.W. and T.W.G. evaluated the manuscript. S.O.R. supervised the project and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Silvio O Rizzoli.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Supplementary Figures 1–5 and Supplementary Methods (PDF 988 kb)

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Wilhelm, B., Groemer, T. & Rizzoli, S. The same synaptic vesicles drive active and spontaneous release. Nat Neurosci 13, 1454–1456 (2010).

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