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Eur J Neurosci. 1997 Dec;9(12):2503-11.

Sustained neurotransmitter release: new molecular clues.

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Department of Neuroscience, Nobel Institute for Neurophysiology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Chemical synapses convey impulses at high frequency by exocytosis of synaptic vesicles. To avoid failure of synaptic transmission, rapid replenishment of synaptic vesicles must occur. Recent molecular perturbation studies have confirmed that the recycling of synaptic vesicles involves clathrin-mediated endocytosis. The rate of exocytosis would thus be limited by the capacity of the synaptic clathrin machinery unless vesicles could be drawn from existing pools. The mobilization of vesicles from the pool clustered at the release sites appears to provide a mechanism by which the rate of exocytosis can intermittently exceed the rate of recycling. Perturbation of synapsins causes disruption of vesicle clusters and impairment of synaptic transmission at high but not at low frequencies. Both clathrin-mediated recycling and mobilization of vesicles from the reserve pool are thus important in the replenishment of synaptic vesicles. The efficacy of each mechanism appears to differ between synapses which operate with different patterns of activity.

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