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J Neurophysiol. 2011 Aug;106(2):1028-37. doi: 10.1152/jn.00255.2011. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Development of new peptide-based tools for studying synaptic ribbon function.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and the Center for Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Synaptic ribbons are proteinaceous specialized electron-dense presynaptic structures found in nonspiking sensory cells of the vertebrate nervous system. Understanding the function of these structures is an active area of research (reviewed in Matthews G, Fuchs P. Nat Rev Neurosci 11: 812-822, 2010). Previous work had shown that ribbons could be effectively labeled and visualized using peptides that bind to the synaptic ribbon protein RIBEYE via a PXDLS motif (Zenisek D, Horst NK, Merrifield C, Sterling P, Matthews G. J Neurosci 24: 9752-9759, 2004). Here, we expand on the previous work to develop new tools and strategies for 1) better visualizing synaptic ribbons, and 2) monitoring and manipulating calcium on the synaptic ribbon. Specifically, we developed a new higher-affinity peptide-based label for visualizing ribbons in live cells and two strategies for localizing calcium indicators to the synaptic ribbon.

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