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Neuron. 2003 Feb 6;37(3):379-82.

Synaptic ribbon. Conveyor belt or safety belt?

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Department of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The synaptic ribbon in neurons that release transmitter via graded potentials has been considered as a conveyor belt that actively moves vesicles toward their release sites. But evidence has accumulated to the contrary, and it now seems plausible that the ribbon serves instead as a safety belt to tether vesicles stably in mutual contact and thus facilitate multivesicular release by compound exocytosis.

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