Individual synaptic vesicles from the electroplaque of Torpedo californica, a classic cholinergic synapse, also contain transporters for glutamate and ATP
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The type of neurotransmitter secreted by a neuron is a product of the vesicular transporters present on its synaptic vesicle membranes and the available transmitters in the local cytosolic environment where the synaptic vesicles reside. Synaptic vesicles isolated from electroplaques of the marine ray, Torpedo californica, have served as model vesicles for cholinergic neurotransmission. Many lines of evidence support the idea that in addition to acetylcholine, additional neurotransmitters and/or neuromodulators are also released from cholinergic synapses. We identified the types of vesicular neurotransmitter transporters present at the electroplaque using immunoblot and immunofluoresence techniques with antibodies against the vesicle acetylcholine transporter (VAChT), the vesicular glutamate transporters (VGLUT1, 2, and 3), and the vesicular nucleotide transporter (VNUT). We found that VAChT, VNUT, VGLUT 1 and 2, but not 3 were present by immunoblot, and confirmed that the antibodies were specific to proteins of the axons and terminals of the electroplaque. We used a single‐vesicle imaging technique to determine whether these neurotransmitter transporters were present on the same or different populations of synaptic vesicles. We found that greater than 85% of vesicles that labeled for VAChT colabeled with VGLUT1 or VGLUT2, and approximately 70% colabeled with VNUT. Based upon confidence intervals, at least 52% of cholinergic vesicles isolated are likely to contain all four transporters. The presence of multiple types of neurotransmitter transporters – and potentially neurotransmitters – in individual synaptic vesicles raises fundamental questions about the role of cotransmitter release and neurotransmitter synergy at cholinergic synapses.
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Li, Huinan; Harlow, Mark L. (2014). Individual synaptic vesicles from the electroplaque of Torpedo californica, a classic cholinergic synapse, also contain transporters for glutamate and ATP. Wiley. Available electronically from
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