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Eur J Neurosci. 1996 Dec;8(12):2530-43.

Synapsin-like molecules in Aplysia punctata and Helix pomatia: identification and distribution in the nervous system and during the formation of synaptic contacts in vitro.

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Istituto di Fisiologia Umana, Università di Bari, Italy.


The distribution and biochemical features of the synapsin-like peptides recognized in Aplysia and Helix by various antibodies directed against mammalian synapsins were studied. The peptides can be extracted at low pH and are digested by collagenase; further, they can be phosphorylated by both protein kinase A and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II. In the ganglia of both snails, they are associated with the soma of most neurons and with the neuropil; punctate immunostaining is present along the neurites. Using cocultures of a Helix serotoninergic neuron and of its target cell, we analysed the redistribution of the synapsin-like peptides during the formation of active synaptic contacts. When the presynaptic neuron is plated in isolation, both synapsin and serotonin immunoreactivities are restricted to the distal axonal segments and to the growth cones; in the presence of the target, the formation of a chemical connection is accompanied by redistribution of the synapsin and serotonin immunoreactivities that concentrate in highly fluorescent round spots scattered along the newly grown neurites located close to the target cell. Almost every spot that is stained for serotonin is also positive for synapsin. In the presynaptic cell plated alone, the number of these varicosity-like structures is substantially stable throughout the whole period; by contrast, when the presynaptic cell synapses the target, their number increases progressively parallel to the increase in the mean amplitude of cumulative excitatory postsynaptic potentials recorded at the same times. The data indicate that mollusc synapsin-like peptides to some extent resemble their mammalian homologues, although they are not exclusively localized in nerve terminals and their expression strongly correlates with the formation of active synaptic contacts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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