Coordinated trafficking of synaptic vesicle and active zone proteins prior to synapse formation

Luke A.D. Bury, Shasta L. Sabo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Background: The proteins required for synaptic transmission are rapidly assembled at nascent synapses, but the mechanisms through which these proteins are delivered to developing presynaptic terminals are not understood. Prior to synapse formation, active zone proteins and synaptic vesicle proteins are transported along axons in distinct organelles referred to as piccolo-bassoon transport vesicles (PTVs) and synaptic vesicle protein transport vesicles (STVs), respectively. Although both PTVs and STVs are recruited to the same site in the axon, often within minutes of axo-dendritic contact, it is not known whether or how PTV and STV trafficking is coordinated before synapse formation.Results: Here, using time-lapse confocal imaging of the dynamics of PTVs and STVs in the same axon, we show that vesicle trafficking is coordinated through at least two mechanisms. First, a significant proportion of STVs and PTVs are transported together before forming a stable terminal. Second, individual PTVs and STVs share pause sites within the axon. Importantly, for both STVs and PTVs, encountering the other type of vesicle increases their propensity to pause. To determine if PTV-STV interactions are important for pausing, PTV density was reduced in axons by expression of a dominant negative construct corresponding to the syntaxin binding domain of syntabulin, which links PTVs with their KIF5B motor. This reduction in PTVs had a minimal effect on STV pausing and movement, suggesting that an interaction between STVs and PTVs is not responsible for enhancing STV pausing.Conclusions: Our results indicate that trafficking of STVs and PTVs is coordinated even prior to synapse development. This novel coordination of transport and pausing might provide mechanisms through which all of the components of a presynaptic terminal can be rapidly accumulated at sites of synapse formation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
JournalNeural Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 10 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Coordinated trafficking of synaptic vesicle and active zone proteins prior to synapse formation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this