Mass synaptometry: High-dimensional multi parametric assay for single synapses.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Synaptic alterations, especially presynaptic changes, are cardinal features of neurodegenerative diseases and strongly correlate with cognitive decline. NEW METHOD:We report "Mass Synaptometry" for the high-dimensional analysis of individual human synaptosomes, enriched nerve terminals from brain. This method was adapted from cytometry by time-of-flight mass spectrometry (CyTOF), which is commonly used for single-cell analysis of immune and blood cells. RESULT:Here we overcome challenges for single synapse analysis by optimizing synaptosome preparations, generating a 'SynTOF panel,' recalibrating acquisition settings, and applying computational analyses. Through the analysis of 390,000 individual synaptosomes, we also provide proof-of principle validation by characterizing changes in synaptic diversity in Lewy Body Disease (LBD), Alzheimer's disease and normal brain. COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHOD(S):Current imaging methods to study synapses in humans are capable of analyzing a limited number of synapses, and conventional flow cytometric techniques are typically restricted to fewer than 6 parameters. Our method allows for the simultaneous detection of 34 parameters from tens of thousands of individual synapses. CONCLUSION:We applied Mass Synaptometry to analyze 34 parameters simultaneously on more than 390,000 synaptosomes from 13 human brain samples. This new approach revealed regional and disease-specific changes in synaptic phenotypes, including validation of this method with the expected changes in the molecular composition of striatal dopaminergic synapses in Lewy body disease and Alzheimer's disease. Mass synaptometry enables highly parallel molecular profiling of individual synaptic terminals.
Project description:Amyloid beta (A?) oligomers and phosphorylated tau (p-tau) aggregates are increasingly identified as potential toxic intermediates in Alzheimer's disease (AD). In cortical AD synapses, p-tau co-localizes with A?, but the A? and p-tau peptide species responsible for synaptic dysfunction and demise remains unclear. The present experiments were designed to use high-speed cell sorting techniques to purify synaptosome population based on size, and then extend the method to physically isolate A?-positive synaptosomes with the goal of understanding the nature of A? and tau pathology in AD synapses. To examine the purity of size-gated synaptosomes, samples were first gated on size; particles with sizes between 0.5 and 1.5 microns were collected. Electron microscopy documented a homogenous population of spherical particles with internal vesicles and synaptic densities. Next, size-gated synaptosomes positive for A? were collected by fluorescence activated sorting and then analyzed by immunoblotting techniques. Sorted A?-positive synaptosomes were enriched for amyloid precursor protein (APP) and for A? oligomers and aggregates; immunolabeling for p-tau showed a striking accumulation of p-tau aggregates compared to the original homogenate and purified synaptosomes. These results confirm co-localization of A? and p-tau within individual synaptic terminals and provide proof of concept for the utility of flow sorting synaptosomes.
Project description:Dementia with Lewy bodies is characterized by the accumulation of Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites in the CNS, both of which are composed mainly of aggregated ?-synuclein phosphorylated at Ser129. Although phosphorylated ?-synuclein is believed to exert toxic effects at the synapse in dementia with Lewy bodies and other ?-synucleinopathies, direct evidence for the precise synaptic localization has been difficult to achieve due to the lack of adequate optical microscopic resolution to study human synapses. In the present study we applied array tomography, a microscopy technique that combines ultrathin sectioning of tissue with immunofluorescence allowing precise identification of small structures, to quantitatively investigate the synaptic phosphorylated ?-synuclein pathology in dementia with Lewy bodies. We performed array tomography on human brain samples from five patients with dementia with Lewy bodies, five patients with Alzheimer's disease and five healthy control subjects to analyse the presence of phosphorylated ?-synuclein immunoreactivity at the synapse and their relationship with synapse size. Main analyses were performed in blocks from cingulate cortex and confirmed in blocks from the striatum of cases with dementia with Lewy bodies. A total of 1 318 700 single pre- or postsynaptic terminals were analysed. We found that phosphorylated ?-synuclein is present exclusively in dementia with Lewy bodies cases, where it can be identified in the form of Lewy bodies, Lewy neurites and small aggregates (<0.16 µm3). Between 19% and 25% of phosphorylated ?-synuclein deposits were found in presynaptic terminals mainly in the form of small aggregates. Synaptic terminals that co-localized with small aggregates of phosphorylated ?-synuclein were significantly larger than those that did not. Finally, a gradient of phosphorylated ?-synuclein aggregation in synapses (pre > pre + post > postsynaptic) was observed. These results indicate that phosphorylated ?-synuclein is found at the presynaptic terminals of dementia with Lewy bodies cases mainly in the form of small phosphorylated ?-synuclein aggregates that are associated with changes in synaptic morphology. Overall, our data support the notion that pathological phosphorylated ?-synuclein may disrupt the structure and function of the synapse in dementia with Lewy bodies.
Project description:Synaptosomes are intact, isolated nerve terminals that contain the necessary machinery to recycle synaptic vesicles via endocytosis and exocytosis upon stimulation. Here we use this property of synaptosomes to load quantum dots into synaptic vesicles. Vesicles are then isolated from the synaptosomes, providing a method to probe isolated, individual synaptic vesicles where each vesicle contains a single, encapsulated nanoparticle. This technique provided an encapsulation efficiency of ~16%, that is, ~16% of the vesicles contained a single quantum dot while the remaining vesicles were empty. The ability to load single nanoparticles into synaptic vesicles opens new opportunity for employing various nanoparticle-based sensors to study the dynamics of vesicular transporters.
Project description:Synaptic dysfunction is thought to have an important role in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Lewy body disease (LBD). To improve our understanding of synaptic alterations in health and disease, we investigated synaptosomes prepared from post-mortem human cerebral cortex, putamen (PT), and two regions of the caudate nucleus, dorso-lateral (DL) and ventro-medial (VM), regions commonly affected in AD and LBD. We observed that the fraction of synaptosomal particles with reactivity for dopamine transporter (DAT) was significantly reduced in the PT and VM caudate of patients with neuropathological diagnosis of LBD. As expected, these differences also were reflected in direct measurements of dopamine (DA) and its metabolite, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), in caudate and PT of LBD patients. The fraction of synaptosomal particles positive for amyloid ? (A?) was significantly increased in frontal cortical samples of patients with the neuropathological diagnosis of severe AD, and was positively correlated with disease progression. We also prepared synaptosomes from the striatum of mice with severe loss of DA neurons (Slc6a3-DTR mice) and wild-type littermate controls. We observed markedly reduced levels of DAT-positive synaptosomes in Slc6a3-DTR mice following exposure to diphtheria toxin (DT). Striatal levels of DA and DOPAC in Slc6a3-DTR mice also were reduced significantly following DT exposure. We conclude that flow cytometric analysis of synaptosomes prepared from human or mouse brain provides an opportunity to study expression of pathology-associated proteins and also the specific loss of dopaminergic nerve terminals. Hence, we believe it is a valid method to detect pathological changes at the level of the synapse in LBD as well as AD.
Project description:For decades, neuroscientists have used enriched preparations of synaptic particles called synaptosomes to study synapse function. However, the interpretation of corresponding data is problematic as synaptosome preparations contain multiple types of synapses and non-synaptic neuronal and glial contaminants. We established a novel Fluorescence Activated Synaptosome Sorting (FASS) method that substantially improves conventional synaptosome enrichment protocols and enables high-resolution biochemical analyses of specific synapse subpopulations. Employing knock-in mice with fluorescent glutamatergic synapses, we show that FASS isolates intact ultrapure synaptosomes composed of a resealed presynaptic terminal and a postsynaptic density as assessed by light and electron microscopy. FASS synaptosomes contain bona fide glutamatergic synapse proteins but are almost devoid of other synapse types and extrasynaptic or glial contaminants. We identified 163 enriched proteins in FASS samples, of which FXYD6 and Tpd52 were validated as new synaptic proteins. FASS purification thus enables high-resolution biochemical analyses of specific synapse subpopulations in health and disease.
Project description:The apolipoprotein E4 allele (APOE4) contributes to Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk and APOE2 is protective, but the relevant cellular mechanisms are unknown. We have used flow cytometry analysis to measure apolipoprotein E (apoE) and amyloid beta peptide (A?) levels in large populations of synaptic terminals from AD and aged cognitively normal controls, and demonstrate that modest but significant increases in soluble apoE levels accompany elevated A? in AD cortical synapses and in an APP/PS1 rat model of AD. Dual labeling experiments document co-localization of apoE and A? in individual synapses with concentration of A? in a small population of apoE-positive synapses in both AD and controls. Consistent with a clearance role, the apoE level was higher in A?-positive synapses in control cases. In aged targeted replacement mice expressing human apoE, apoE2/4 synaptic terminals demonstrated the highest level of apoE and the lowest level of A? compared to apoE3/3 and apoE4/4 lines. In apoE2/4 terminals, the pattern of immunolabeling for apoE and A? closely resembled the pattern in human control cases, and elevated apoE was accompanied by elevated free cholesterol in apoE2/4 synaptic terminals. These results are consistent with a role for APOE in A? clearance in AD synapses, and suggest that optimal lipidation of apoE2 compared to E3 and E4 makes an important contribution to A? clearance and synaptic function.
Project description:Synaptic neurotransmission is known to be an energy demanding process. At the presynapse, ATP is required for loading neurotransmitters into synaptic vesicles, for priming synaptic vesicles before release, and as a substrate for various kinases and ATPases. Although it is assumed that presynaptic sites usually harbor local mitochondria, which may serve as energy powerhouse to generate ATP as well as a presynaptic calcium depot, a clear role of presynaptic mitochondria in biochemical functioning of the presynapse is not well-defined. Besides a few synaptic subtypes like the mossy fibers and the Calyx of Held, most central presynaptic sites are either en passant or tiny axonal terminals that have little space to accommodate a large mitochondrion. Here, we have used imaging studies to demonstrate that mitochondrial antigens poorly co-localize with the synaptic vesicle clusters and active zone marker in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus and the cerebellum. Confocal imaging analysis on neuronal cultures revealed that most neuronal mitochondria are either somatic or distributed in the proximal part of major dendrites. A large number of synapses in culture are devoid of any mitochondria. Electron micrographs from neuronal cultures further confirm our finding that the majority of presynapses may not harbor resident mitochondria. We corroborated our ultrastructural findings using serial block face scanning electron microscopy (SBFSEM) and found that more than 60% of the presynaptic terminals lacked discernible mitochondria in the wild-type mice hippocampus. Biochemical fractionation of crude synaptosomes into mitochondria and pure synaptosomes also revealed a sparse presence of mitochondrial antigen at the presynaptic boutons. Despite a low abundance of mitochondria, the synaptosomal membranes were found to be highly enriched in ATP suggesting that the presynapse may possess alternative mechanism/s for concentrating ATP for its function. The potential mechanisms including local glycolysis and the possible roles of ATP-binding synaptic proteins such as synapsins, are discussed.
Project description:Synaptosomes are isolated nerve terminals that contain synaptic components, including neurotransmitters, metabolites, adhesion/fusion proteins, and nerve terminal receptors. The essential role of synaptosomes in neurotransmission has stimulated keen interest in understanding both their proteomic and metabolic composition. Mass spectrometric (MS) quantification of synaptosomes has illuminated their proteomic composition, but the determination of the metabolic composition by MS has been met with limited success. In this study, we report a proof-of-concept application of one- and two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy for analyzing the metabolic composition of synaptosomes. We utilize this approach to compare the metabolic composition synaptosomes from a wild-type rat with that from a newly generated genetic rat model (Disc1 sv?2), which qualitatively recapitulates clinically observed early DISC1 truncations associated with schizophrenia. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using NMR spectroscopy to identify and quantify metabolites within synaptosomal fractions.
Project description:Long-term potentiation (LTP) is an activity-dependent and persistent increase in synaptic transmission. Currently available techniques to measure LTP are time-intensive and require highly specialized expertise and equipment, and thus are not well suited for screening of multiple candidate treatments, even in animal models. To expand and facilitate the analysis of LTP, here we use a flow cytometry-based method to track chemically induced LTP by detecting surface AMPA receptors in isolated synaptosomes: fluorescence analysis of single-synapse long-term potentiation (FASS-LTP). First, we demonstrate that FASS-LTP is simple, sensitive, and models electrically induced LTP recorded in intact circuitries. Second, we conducted FASS-LTP analysis in two well-characterized Alzheimer's disease (AD) mouse models (3xTg and Tg2576) and, importantly, in cryopreserved human AD brain samples. By profiling hundreds of synaptosomes, our data provide the first direct evidence to support the idea that synapses from AD brain are intrinsically defective in LTP. Third, we used FASS-LTP for drug evaluation in human synaptosomes. Testing a panel of modulators of cAMP and cGMP signaling pathways, FASS-LTP identified vardenafil and Bay-73-6691 (phosphodiesterase-5 and -9 inhibitors, respectively) as potent enhancers of LTP in synaptosomes from AD cases. These results indicate that our approach could provide the basis for protocols to study LTP in both healthy and diseased human brains, a previously unattainable goal. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT:Learning and memory depend on the ability of synapses to strengthen in response to activity. Long-term potentiation (LTP) is a rapid and persistent increase in synaptic transmission that is thought to be affected in Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, direct evidence of LTP deficits in human AD brain has been elusive, primarily due to methodological limitations. Here, we analyze LTP in isolated synapses from AD brain using a novel approach that allows testing LTP in cryopreserved brain. Our analysis of hundreds of synapses supports the idea that AD-diseased synapses are intrinsically defective in LTP. Further, we identified pharmacological agents that rescue LTP in AD, thus opening up a new avenue for drug screening and evaluation of strategies for alleviating memory impairments.
Project description:1. The exchangeability with added radioactive acetylcholine of the acetylcholine in isolated presynaptic nerve terminals (synaptosomes) and isolated synaptic vesicles was studied by a Sephadex-column method. 2. A substantial proportion of the synaptosomal acetylcholine is exchangeable with added radioactive acetylcholine. It is liberated by hypo-osmotic shock and ultrasonic treatment, and behaves as though it occupies the cytoplasmic compartment of synaptosomes. 3. Methods of isolating vesicles from hypo-osmotically ruptured synaptosomes in optimum yield are discussed. 4. The acetylcholine of synaptic vesicles isolated on a sucrose density gradient is released by hypo-osmotic conditions, suggesting that it is enclosed by a semi-permeable membrane; however, it is not easily released by ultrasonic treatment. 5. Added radioactive acetylcholine does not exchange with vesicular acetylcholine under a variety of different conditions. These include addition of ATP and Mg(2+), and pre-loading of the synaptosome with radioactive acetylcholine before hypo-osmotic rupture. This failure to exchange is discussed in terms of the possible storage mechanism of vesicular acetylcholine.