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PLoS Comput Biol. 2015 Sep 14;11(9):e1004407. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004407. eCollection 2015 Sep.

Dynamical Organization of Syntaxin-1A at the Presynaptic Active Zone.

Author information

1
Department of Mathematics, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
2
Institute for Biology/Genetics, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany; NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence, Charité Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
3
Institute for Biology/Genetics, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

Synaptic vesicle fusion is mediated by SNARE proteins forming in between synaptic vesicle (v-SNARE) and plasma membrane (t-SNARE), one of which is Syntaxin-1A. Although exocytosis mainly occurs at active zones, Syntaxin-1A appears to cover the entire neuronal membrane. By using STED super-resolution light microscopy and image analysis of Drosophila neuro-muscular junctions, we show that Syntaxin-1A clusters are more abundant and have an increased size at active zones. A computational particle-based model of syntaxin cluster formation and dynamics is developed. The model is parametrized to reproduce Syntaxin cluster-size distributions found by STED analysis, and successfully reproduces existing FRAP results. The model shows that the neuronal membrane is adjusted in a way to strike a balance between having most syntaxins stored in large clusters, while still keeping a mobile fraction of syntaxins free or in small clusters that can efficiently search the membrane or be traded between clusters. This balance is subtle and can be shifted toward almost no clustering and almost complete clustering by modifying the syntaxin interaction energy on the order of only 1 kBT. This capability appears to be exploited at active zones. The larger active-zone syntaxin clusters are more stable and provide regions of high docking and fusion capability, whereas the smaller clusters outside may serve as flexible reserve pool or sites of spontaneous ectopic release.

PMID:
26367029
PMCID:
PMC4569342
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004407
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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