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Donut-like topology of synaptic vesicles with a central cluster of mitochondria wrapped into membrane protrusions: a novel structure-function module of the adult calyx of Held

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Wimmer,  Verena C.
Department of Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Horstmann,  Heinz
Department of Biomedical Optics, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;
Department of Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Groh,  Alexander
Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Kuner,  Thomas
Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;
Department of Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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JNeurosci_26_2006_109_Supp2.mov
(Supplementary material), 24MB

Citation

Wimmer, V. C., Horstmann, H., Groh, A., & Kuner, T. (2006). Donut-like topology of synaptic vesicles with a central cluster of mitochondria wrapped into membrane protrusions: a novel structure-function module of the adult calyx of Held. The Journal of Neuroscience: the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 26(1), 109-116. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3268-05.2006.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-EE4B-3
Abstract
Structural and functional properties of synapses are intricately and reciprocally coupled. To cope with the functional requirements in auditory processing, the calyx of Held developed distinct structural specializations such as a large number of active zones, large size, elaborate morphology, and defined distribution of ion channels. These specializations typically appear during postnatal maturation within the first 3 weeks of life and are accompanied by marked changes in the properties of synaptic transmission. We examined the arrangement of synaptic vesicles at different postnatal stages of maturation by genetically labeling vesicles with the fluorescent fusion protein synaptophysin-enhanced green fluorescent protein. Fluorescence and electron microscopy-based analyses revealed a new anatomical specialization in the mature calyx of Held. Within small, membrane-delimited compartments (swellings), synaptic vesicles formed donut-like assemblies around a central cluster of interconnected mitochondria. Adult calyces contained approximately 100 such structural units, each of them consisting of approximately 800 synaptic vesicles, six to nine mitochondria, and five to nine active zones. A donut of synaptic vesicles measured approximately 1 microm in diameter and was placed in a swelling with a volume of approximately 5 fl. Conspicuously, this structural specialization appears with the onset of hearing and may contribute to maturational changes in presynaptic function.