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Neuron. 2004 Mar 25;41(6):943-53.

The kinetics of synaptic vesicle pool depletion at CNS synaptic terminals.

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Department of Biochemistry, The Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


During sustained action potential (AP) firing at nerve terminals, the rates of endocytosis compared to exocytosis determine how quickly the available synaptic vesicle pool is depleted, in turn influencing presynaptic efficacy. Mechanisms, including rapid kiss-and-run endocytosis as well as local, preferential recycling of docked vesicles, have been proposed as a means to allow endocytosis and recycling to keep up with stimulation. We show here that, for CNS nerve terminals at physiological temperatures, endocytosis is sufficiently fast to avoid vesicle pool depletion during continuous AP firing at 10 Hz. This endocytosis-exocytosis balance persists for turnover of the entire releasable pool of vesicles and allows for efficient escape of FM 4-64, indicating that it is a non-kiss-and-run endocytic event. Thus, under physiological conditions, the sustained speed of vesicle membrane retrieval for the entire releasable pool appears to be sufficiently fast to compensate for exocytosis, avoiding significant vesicle pool depletion during robust synaptic activity.

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