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

A local, periactive zone endocytic machinery at photoreceptor synapses in close vicinity to synaptic ribbons.

PMID 23785143


Photoreceptor ribbon synapses are continuously active synapses with large active zones that contain synaptic ribbons. Synaptic ribbons are anchored to the active zones and are associated with large numbers of synaptic vesicles. The base of the ribbon that is located close to L-type voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels is a hotspot of exocytosis. The continuous exocytosis at the ribbon synapse needs to be balanced by compensatory endocytosis. Recent analyses indicated that vesicle recycling at the synaptic ribbon is also an important determinant of synaptic signaling at the photoreceptor synapse. To get insights into mechanisms of vesicle recycling at the photoreceptor ribbon synapse, we performed super-resolution structured illumination microscopy and immunogold electron microscopy to localize major components of the endocytotic membrane retrieval machinery in the photoreceptor synapse of the mouse retina. We found dynamin, syndapin, amphiphysin, and calcineurin, a regulator of activity-dependent endocytosis, to be highly enriched around the active zone and the synaptic ribbon. We present evidence for two clathrin heavy chain variants in the photoreceptor terminal; one is enriched around the synaptic ribbon, whereas the other is localized in the entry region of the terminal. The focal enrichment of endocytic proteins around the synaptic ribbon is consistent with a focal uptake of endocytic markers at that site. This endocytic activity functionally depends on dynamin. These data propose that the presynaptic periactive zone surrounding the synaptic ribbon complex is a hotspot of endocytosis in photoreceptor ribbon synapses.