Send to

Choose Destination
Nature. 2002 Jul 4;418(6893):89-92.

Capacitance steps and fusion pores of small and large-dense-core vesicles in nerve terminals.

Author information

Department of Physiology and Biophysics Graduate Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1300 University Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


The vesicles that package neurotransmitters fall into two distinct classes, large dense-core vesicles (LDCVs) and small synaptic vesicles, the coexistence of which is widespread in nerve terminals. High resolution capacitance recording reveals unitary steps proportional to vesicle size. Measurements of capacitance steps during LDCV and secretory granule fusion in endocrine and immune cells have provided important insights into exocytosis; however, extending these measurements to small synaptic vesicles has proven difficult. Here we report single vesicle capacitance steps in posterior pituitary nerve terminals. These nerve terminals contain neuropeptide-laden LDCVs, as well as microvesicles. Microvesicles are similar to synaptic vesicles in size, morphology and molecular composition, but their contents are unknown. Capacitance steps of two characteristic sizes, corresponding with microvesicles and LDCVs, were detected in patches of nerve terminal membrane. Both types of vesicles fuse in response to depolarization-induced Ca(2+) entry. Both undergo a reversible fusion process commonly referred to as 'kiss-and-run', but only rarely. Fusion pores seen during microvesicle kiss-and-run have a conductance of 19 pS, 11 times smaller than LDCV fusion pores. Thus, LDCVs and microvesicles use structurally different intermediates during exocytosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center