Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Neurosci. 2016 Apr;19(4):578-86. doi: 10.1038/nn.4252. Epub 2016 Feb 22.

Fluorescent false neurotransmitter reveals functionally silent dopamine vesicle clusters in the striatum.

Author information

Department of Neurology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.
Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.
Department of Pharmacology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.
Department of Neuroscience, New York Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York, USA.


Neurotransmission at dopaminergic synapses has been studied with techniques that provide high temporal resolution, but cannot resolve individual synapses. To elucidate the spatial dynamics and heterogeneity of individual dopamine boutons, we developed fluorescent false neurotransmitter 200 (FFN200), a vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) substrate that selectively traces monoamine exocytosis in both neuronal cell culture and brain tissue. By monitoring electrically evoked Ca(2+) transients with GCaMP3 and FFN200 release simultaneously, we found that only a small fraction of dopamine boutons that exhibited Ca(2+) influx engaged in exocytosis, a result confirmed with activity-dependent loading of the endocytic probe FM1-43. Thus, only a low fraction of striatal dopamine axonal sites with uptake-competent VMAT2 vesicles are capable of transmitter release. This is consistent with the presence of functionally 'silent' dopamine vesicle clusters and represents, to the best of our knowledge, the first report suggestive of presynaptically silent neuromodulatory synapses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center