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Neuron. 2005 Aug 4;47(3):365-78.

Synaptic mitochondria are critical for mobilization of reserve pool vesicles at Drosophila neuromuscular junctions.

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Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


In a forward screen for genes affecting neurotransmission in Drosophila, we identified mutations in dynamin-related protein (drp1). DRP1 is required for proper cellular distribution of mitochondria, and in mutant neurons, mitochondria are largely absent from synapses, thus providing a genetic tool to assess the role of mitochondria at synapses. Although resting Ca2+ is elevated at drp1 NMJs, basal synaptic properties are barely affected. However, during intense stimulation, mutants fail to maintain normal neurotransmission. Surprisingly, FM1-43 labeling indicates normal exo- and endocytosis, but a specific inability to mobilize reserve pool vesicles, which is partially rescued by exogenous ATP. Using a variety of drugs, we provide evidence that reserve pool recruitment depends on mitochondrial ATP production downstream of PKA signaling and that mitochondrial ATP limits myosin-propelled mobilization of reserve pool vesicles. Our data suggest a specific role for mitochondria in regulating synaptic strength.

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