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Journal Article

Recent applications of superresolution microscopy in neurobiology.


Willig,  K. I.
Department of NanoBiophotonics, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Willig, K. I., & Barrantes, F. J. (2014). Recent applications of superresolution microscopy in neurobiology. Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, 20, 16-21. doi:10.1016/j.cbpa.2014.03.021.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0019-8B71-3
Chemical synapses in brain are structural differentiations where excitatory or inhibitory signals are vectorially transmitted between two neurons. Excitatory synapses occur mostly on dendritic spines, submicron sized protrusions of the neuronal dendritic arborizations. Axons establish contacts with these tiny specializations purported to be the smallest functional processing units in the central nervous system. The minute size of synapses and their macromolecular constituents creates an inherent difficulty for imaging but makes them an ideal object for superresolution microscopy. Here we discuss some representative examples of nanoscopy studies, ranging from quantification of receptors and scaffolding proteins in postsynaptic densities and their dynamic behavior, to imaging of synaptic vesicle proteins and dendritic spines in living neurons or even live animals.