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

Targeting of peptidergic vesicles in cotransmitting terminals.

PMID 11157098


In the present study, we examined the targeting of neuropeptide-containing vesicles in terminals of neurons that release both neuropeptides and classical transmitters. Single neurons were electrically stimulated with patterns of activity that were recorded in freely behaving animals. The amount of peptide release was measured biochemically using a radioimmunoassay, and the targeting of peptidergic vesicles was quantified using immunoelectronmicroscopy. Repeated electrical stimulation of single neurons produced a very large increase in peptide release. Peptide release is paralleled by a twofold increase in the number of peptidergic vesicles docked at the portion of the terminal membrane that is away from the target muscle. This is in stark contrast to cholinergic vesicles, which aggregate at, and are released from the conventional release sites in close apposition to the muscle. This differential targeting of cholinergic and peptidergic vesicles may play a significant role in the distinct release requirements and spatial and temporal characteristics of the actions of conventional and peptidergic transmitters.