Project P09

Protein partitioning in the synaptic compartment: principles and molecular architecture

Synaptic vesicle recycling is a specialized membrane trafficking pathway that occupies its own compartment, the presynaptic bouton. The mechanisms that maintain the molecules of this pathway in the bouton are unknown. We will investigate them by testing two complementary hypotheses: 1) the synaptic vesicles act as a buffer system for numerous soluble proteins, and 2) the structure of the synapto-axonal interface acts as a diffusion barrier that participates in retaining molecules. We will use several complementary tools: live imaging of vesicles and synaptic molecules; the generation of a 3D molecular model of the synapto-axonal interface; an in vitro investigation of the interactions between vesicles and various synaptic proteins; an optogenetics-based approach to generate light-controlled vesicle clusters whose protein buffering capacity can be studied in living neurons.

The organization of exo- and endocytotic proteins within a model synaptic bouton.
Sections through the synaptic bouton in which only the exocytotic (A) or the endocytotic proteins (B) are shown. The graphical legend indicates the different proteins (right). The graphical legend indicates the different proteins (bottom). Displayed synaptic vesicles have a diameter of 42 nm.

Principal investigator

Prof. Dr. Silvio Rizzoli

University Medical Center Göttingen
Department of Neuro- and Sensory Physiology
Humboldtallee 23
D-37073 Göttingen

+49 551 39 5911 (phone)
srizzol(at) (e-mail)