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The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Reconstitution of Giant Mammalian Synapses in Culture for Molecular Functional and Imaging Studies.


PMID 27013688

Abstract

Giant presynaptic terminal brain slice preparations have allowed intracellular recording of electrical signals and molecular loading, elucidating cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neurotransmission and modulation. However, molecular genetic manipulation or optical imaging in these preparations is hampered by factors, such as tissue longevity and background fluorescence. To overcome these difficulties, we developed a giant presynaptic terminal culture preparation, which allows genetic manipulation and enables optical measurements of synaptic vesicle dynamics, simultaneously with presynaptic electrical signal recordings. This giant synapse reconstructed from dissociated mouse brainstem neurons resembles the development of native calyceal giant synapses in several respects. Thus, this novel preparation constitutes a powerful tool for studying molecular mechanisms of neurotransmission, neuromodulation, and neuronal development. We have developed a novel culture preparation of giant mammalian synapses. These presynaptic terminals make it possible to perform optical imaging simultaneously with presynaptic electrophysiological recording. We demonstrate that this enables one to dissect endocytic and acidification times of synaptic vesicles. In addition, developmental elimination and functional maturation in this cultured preparation provide a useful model for studying presynaptic development. Because this giant synapse preparation allows molecular genetic manipulations, it constitutes a powerful new tool for studying molecular mechanisms of neurotransmission, neuromodulation, and neuronal development.