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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2011 Apr;21(2):261-8. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2010.12.003. Epub 2011 Jan 17.

Ultrastructural organization of presynaptic terminals.

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Institute of Biology of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, 46 rue d'Ulm, 75005 Paris, France.


In response to calcium influx, synaptic vesicles fuse very rapidly with the plasma membrane to release their neurotransmitter content. An important mechanism for sustained release includes the formation of new vesicles by local endocytosis. How synaptic vesicles are trafficked from the sites of endocytosis to the sites of release and how they are maintained at the release sites remain poorly understood. Recent studies using fast freezing immobilization and electron tomography have led to insights on the ultrastructural organization of presynaptic boutons and how these structural elements may maintain synaptic vesicles and organize their exocytosis at particular areas of the plasma membrane.

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