Bassoon and the synaptic ribbon organize Ca²+ channels and vesicles to add release sites and promote refilling.
ABSTRACT: At the presynaptic active zone, Ca²+ influx triggers fusion of synaptic vesicles. It is not well understood how Ca²+ channel clustering and synaptic vesicle docking are organized. Here, we studied structure and function of hair cell ribbon synapses following genetic disruption of the presynaptic scaffold protein Bassoon. Mutant synapses--mostly lacking the ribbon--showed a reduction in membrane-proximal vesicles, with ribbonless synapses affected more than ribbon-occupied synapses. Ca²+ channels were also fewer at mutant synapses and appeared in abnormally shaped clusters. Ribbon absence reduced Ca²+ channel numbers at mutant and wild-type synapses. Fast and sustained exocytosis was reduced, notwithstanding normal coupling of the remaining Ca²+ channels to exocytosis. In vitro recordings revealed a slight impairment of vesicle replenishment. Mechanistic modeling of the in vivo data independently supported morphological and functional in vitro findings. We conclude that Bassoon and the ribbon (1) create a large number of release sites by organizing Ca²+ channels and vesicles, and (2) promote vesicle replenishment.
Project description:Synaptic ribbons are large proteinaceous scaffolds at the active zone of ribbon synapses that are specialized for rapid sustained synaptic vesicles exocytosis. A single ribbon-specific protein is known, RIBEYE, suggesting that ribbons may be constructed from RIBEYE protein. RIBEYE knockdown in zebrafish, however, only reduced but did not eliminate ribbons, indicating a more ancillary role. Here, we show in mice that full deletion of RIBEYE abolishes all presynaptic ribbons in retina synapses. Using paired recordings in acute retina slices, we demonstrate that deletion of RIBEYE severely impaired fast and sustained neurotransmitter release at bipolar neuron/AII amacrine cell synapses and rendered spontaneous miniature release sensitive to the slow Ca(2+)-buffer EGTA, suggesting that synaptic ribbons mediate nano-domain coupling of Ca(2+) channels to synaptic vesicle exocytosis. Our results show that RIBEYE is essential for synaptic ribbons as such, and may organize presynaptic nano-domains that position release-ready synaptic vesicles adjacent to Ca(2+) channels.
Project description:Hearing relies on rapid, temporally precise, and sustained neurotransmitter release at the ribbon synapses of sensory cells, the inner hair cells (IHCs). This process requires otoferlin, a six C2-domain, Ca2+-binding transmembrane protein of synaptic vesicles. To decipher the role of otoferlin in the synaptic vesicle cycle, we produced knock-in mice (OtofAla515,Ala517/Ala515,Ala517) with lower Ca2+-binding affinity of the C2C domain. The IHC ribbon synapse structure, synaptic Ca2+ currents, and otoferlin distribution were unaffected in these mutant mice, but auditory brainstem response wave-I amplitude was reduced. Lower Ca2+ sensitivity and delay of the fast and sustained components of synaptic exocytosis were revealed by membrane capacitance measurement upon modulations of intracellular Ca2+ concentration, by varying Ca2+ influx through voltage-gated Ca2+-channels or Ca2+ uncaging. Otoferlin thus functions as a Ca2+ sensor, setting the rates of primed vesicle fusion with the presynaptic plasma membrane and synaptic vesicle pool replenishment in the IHC active zone.
Project description:Neurons that form ribbon-style synapses are specialized for continuous exocytosis. To this end, their synaptic terminals contain numerous synaptic vesicles, some of which are ribbon associated, that have difference susceptibilities for undergoing Ca2+-dependent exocytosis. In this study, we probed the relationship between previously defined vesicle populations and determined their fusion competency with respect to SNARE complex formation. We found that both the rapidly releasing vesicle pool and the releasable vesicle pool of the retinal bipolar cell are situated at the ribbon-style active zones, where they functionally interact. A peptide inhibitor of SNARE complex formation failed to block exocytosis from either pool, suggesting that these two vesicle pools have formed the SNARE complexes necessary for fusion. By contrast, a third, slower component of exocytosis was blocked by the peptide, as was the functional replenishment of vesicle pools, indicating that few vesicles outside of the ribbon-style active zones were initially fusion competent. In cone photoreceptors, similar to bipolar cells, fusion of the initial ribbon-associated synaptic vesicle cohort was not blocked by the SNARE complex-inhibiting peptide, whereas a later phase of exocytosis, attributable to the recruitment and subsequent fusion of vesicles newly arrived at the synaptic ribbons, was blocked. Together, our results support a model in which stimulus-evoked exocytosis in retinal ribbon synapses is SNARE-dependent; where vesicles higher up on the synaptic ribbon replenish the rapidly releasing vesicle pool; and at any given time, there are sufficient SNARE complexes to support the fusion of the entire ribbon-associated cohort of vesicles. An important implication of these results is that ribbon-associated vesicles can form intervesicular SNARE complexes, providing mechanistic insight into compound fusion at ribbon-style synapses.
Project description:Ribbon synapses in the retina lack the t-SNARE (target-soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor) syntaxin 1A that is found in conventional synapses of the nervous system, but instead contain the related isoform syntaxin 3B. Previous studies have demonstrated that syntaxin 3B is essential for synaptic vesicle exocytosis in ribbon synapses, but syntaxin 3B is less efficient than syntaxin 1A in binding the t-SNARE protein SNAP-25 and catalyzing vesicle fusion. We demonstrate here that syntaxin 3B is localized mainly on the presynaptic membrane of retinal ribbon synapses and that a subset of syntaxin 3B is localized in close proximity to the synaptic ribbon. We show further, that syntaxin 3B can be phosphorylated by the Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII). We determine that the phosphorylation site is located close to the N-terminus at T14. Syntaxin 3B with a phosphomimetic mutation (T14E) had a stronger binding affinity for SNAP-25 compared with wild type syntaxin 3B. We propose that phosphorylation of syntaxin 3B by CaMKII can modulate the assembly of the SNARE complex in ribbon synapses of the retina, and might regulate the exocytosis of synaptic vesicles in ribbon synapses.
Project description:We studied the role of the synaptic ribbon for sound encoding at the synapses between inner hair cells (IHCs) and spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) in mice lacking RIBEYE (RBEKO/KO). Electron and immunofluorescence microscopy revealed a lack of synaptic ribbons and an assembly of several small active zones (AZs) at each synaptic contact. Spontaneous and sound-evoked firing rates of SGNs and their compound action potential were reduced, indicating impaired transmission at ribbonless IHC-SGN synapses. The temporal precision of sound encoding was impaired and the recovery of SGN-firing from adaptation indicated slowed synaptic vesicle (SV) replenishment. Activation of Ca2+-channels was shifted to more depolarized potentials and exocytosis was reduced for weak depolarizations. Presynaptic Ca2+-signals showed a broader spread, compatible with the altered Ca2+-channel clustering observed by super-resolution immunofluorescence microscopy. We postulate that RIBEYE disruption is partially compensated by multi-AZ organization. The remaining synaptic deficit indicates ribbon function in SV-replenishment and Ca2+-channel regulation.
Project description:At the first synapse in the vertebrate visual pathway, light-evoked changes in photoreceptor membrane potential alter the rate of glutamate release onto second-order retinal neurons. This process depends on the synaptic ribbon, a specialized structure found at various sensory synapses, to provide a supply of primed vesicles for release. Calcium (Ca(2+)) accelerates the replenishment of vesicles at cone ribbon synapses, but the mechanisms underlying this acceleration and its functional implications for vision are unknown. We studied vesicle replenishment using paired whole-cell recordings of cones and postsynaptic neurons in tiger salamander retinas and found that it involves two kinetic mechanisms, the faster of which was diminished by calmodulin (CaM) inhibitors. We developed an analytical model that can be applied to both conventional and ribbon synapses and showed that vesicle resupply is limited by a simple time constant, ? = 1/(D??s), where D is the vesicle diffusion coefficient, ? is the vesicle diameter, ? is the vesicle density, and s is the probability of vesicle attachment. The combination of electrophysiological measurements, modeling, and total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy of single synaptic vesicles suggested that CaM speeds replenishment by enhancing vesicle attachment to the ribbon. Using electroretinogram and whole-cell recordings of light responses, we found that enhanced replenishment improves the ability of cone synapses to signal darkness after brief flashes of light and enhances the amplitude of responses to higher-frequency stimuli. By accelerating the resupply of vesicles to the ribbon, CaM extends the temporal range of synaptic transmission, allowing cones to transmit higher-frequency visual information to downstream neurons. Thus, the ability of the visual system to encode time-varying stimuli is shaped by the dynamics of vesicle replenishment at photoreceptor synaptic ribbons.
Project description:Ribbon synapses are tonically active synapses in the retina and inner ear with intense vesicle traffic. How this traffic is organized and regulated is still unknown. Synaptic ribbons, large presynaptic structures associated with numerous synaptic vesicles, appear to be essential for this process. The base of the synaptic ribbon is anchored at the active zone and is a hotspot of exocytosis. The synaptic ribbon complex is also important for vesicle replenishment. RIBEYE is a unique and major component of synaptic ribbons. It consists of a unique A-domain and an NAD(H)-binding, C-terminal B-domain. In the present study, we show that the Arf-GTPase activating protein-3 (ArfGAP3), a well characterized regulator of vesicle formation at the Golgi apparatus, is also a component of the synaptic ribbon complex in photoreceptor synapses of the mouse retina and interacts with RIBEYE as shown by multiple, independent approaches. ArfGAP3 binds to RIBEYE(B)-domain in an NAD(H)-dependent manner. The interaction is redox sensitive because NADH is more efficient than the oxidized NAD(+) in promoting ArfGAP3-RIBEYE interaction. RIBEYE competes with the GTP-binding protein Arf1 for binding to ArfGAP3. Thus, binding of RIBEYE(B) to ArfGAP3 could prevent inactivation of Arf1 by ArfGAP3 and provides the synaptic ribbon with the possibility to control Arf1 function. The interaction is relevant for endocytic vesicle trafficking because overexpression of ArfGAP3 in photoreceptors strongly inhibited endocytotic uptake of FM1-43.
Project description:Ribbon synapses of photoreceptor cells and second-order bipolar neurons in the retina are specialized to transmit graded signals that encode light intensity. Neurotransmitter release at ribbon synapses exhibits two kinetically distinct components, which serve different sensory functions. The faster component is depleted within milliseconds and generates transient postsynaptic responses that emphasize changes in light intensity. Despite the importance of this fast release for processing temporal and spatial contrast in visual signals, the physiological basis for this component is not precisely known. By imaging synaptic vesicle turnover and Ca(2+) signals at single ribbons in zebrafish bipolar neurons, we determined the locus of fast release, the speed and site of Ca(2+) influx driving rapid release, and the location where new vesicles are recruited to replenish the fast pool after it is depleted. At ribbons, Ca(2+) near the membrane rose rapidly during depolarization to levels >10 µM, whereas Ca(2+) at nonribbon locations rose more slowly to the lower level observed globally, consistent with selective positioning of Ca(2+) channels near ribbons. The local Ca(2+) domain drove rapid exocytosis of ribbon-associated synaptic vesicles nearest the plasma membrane, accounting for the fast component of neurotransmitter release. However, new vesicles replacing those lost arrived selectively at the opposite pole of the ribbon, distal to the membrane. Overall, the results suggest a model for fast release in which nanodomain Ca(2+) triggers exocytosis of docked vesicles, which are then replaced by more distant ribbon-attached vesicles, creating opportunities for new vesicles to associate with the ribbon at membrane-distal sites.
Project description:Encoding continuous sensory variables requires sustained synaptic signalling. At several sensory synapses, rapid vesicle supply is achieved via highly mobile vesicles and specialized ribbon structures, but how this is achieved at central synapses without ribbons is unclear. Here we examine vesicle mobility at excitatory cerebellar mossy fibre synapses which sustain transmission over a broad frequency bandwidth. Fluorescent recovery after photobleaching in slices from VGLUT1(Venus) knock-in mice reveal 75% of VGLUT1-containing vesicles have a high mobility, comparable to that at ribbon synapses. Experimentally constrained models establish hydrodynamic interactions and vesicle collisions are major determinants of vesicle mobility in crowded presynaptic terminals. Moreover, models incorporating 3D reconstructions of vesicle clouds near active zones (AZs) predict the measured releasable pool size and replenishment rate from the reserve pool. They also show that while vesicle reloading at AZs is not diffusion-limited at the onset of release, diffusion limits vesicle reloading during sustained high-frequency signalling.
Project description:The protein machinery of neurotransmitter exocytosis requires efficient orchestration in space and time, for speed and precision of neurotransmission and also for synaptic ontogeny and plasticity. However, its spatial organization in situ is virtually unknown. Aczonin/Piccolo is a putative organizer protein of mammalian active zones. We determined by immunogold electron microscopy (EM) (i) the spatial arrangement (i.e., topology) of 11 segments of the Aczonin polypeptide in situ, and correlated it to (ii) the positioning of Aczonin-interacting domains of Bassoon, CAST/ELKS, Munc13, and RIM and (iii) the ultrastructurally defined presynaptic macromolecular aggregates known as dense projections and synaptic ribbons. At conventional synapses, Aczonin assumes a compact molecular topology within a layer 35 to 80 nm parallel to the plasma membrane (PM), with a "trunk" sitting on the dense projection top and a C-terminal "arm" extending down toward the PM and sideward to the dense projection periphery. At ribbon synapses, Aczonin occupies the whole ribbon area. Bassoon colocalizes with Aczonin at conventional synapses but not at ribbon synapses. At both conventional and ribbon synapses, CAST, Munc13, and RIM are segregated from Aczonin, closer to the PM, and Aczonin is positioned such that it may control the access of neurotransmitter vesicles to the fusion site.