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Curr Biol. 1999 Dec 2;9(23):1411-4.

The endocytic machinery in nerve terminals surrounds sites of exocytosis.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Hormone Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, 94143-0534, USA.


In most models of endocytosis, the endocytic machinery is recruited from the cytoplasm by cytoplasmic tails of the plasma membrane proteins that are to be internalized. This does not appear to be true at synapses where the endocytic machinery required for synaptic vesicle recycling is localized to membrane-associated 'hot spots' [1] [2]. In Drosophila neuromuscular junctions, the multi-domain protein Dap160 is also localized to hot spots [3] and has some characteristics expected of an anchoring protein. Anchoring the endocytic machinery to the plasma membrane might help contribute to the remarkable speed of synaptic vesicle recycling [4]. Here, we report that the endocytic machinery surrounds sites that are believed to be sites of exocytosis. We propose that the radial distribution of the synaptic vesicle recycling machinery already present on the plasma membrane in unstimulated nerve terminals is a fundamental unit of pre-synaptic organization and allows the nerve terminal to extract maximum recycling efficiency out of conventional endocytic machinery.

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