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ACS Chem Neurosci. 2011 May 18;2(5):236-241.

Synaptosomes as a platform for loading nanoparticles into synaptic vesicles.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-1700, USA.


Synaptosomes are intact, isolated nerve terminals that contain the necessary machinery to recycle synaptic vesicles via endocytosis and exocytosis upon stimulation. Here we use this property of synaptosomes to load quantum dots into synaptic vesicles. Vesicles are then isolated from the synaptosomes, providing a method to probe isolated, individual synaptic vesicles where each vesicle contains a single, encapsulated nanoparticle. This technique provided an encapsulation efficiency of ~16%, that is, ~16% of the vesicles contained a single quantum dot while the remaining vesicles were empty. The ability to load single nanoparticles into synaptic vesicles opens new opportunity for employing various nanoparticle-based sensors to study the dynamics of vesicular transporters.

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