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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Synaptic Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnsyn.2019.00023

Interrogating synaptic architecture: approaches for labeling organelles and cytoskeleton components

  • 1Institute of Neuro- and Sensory Physiology, and Biostructural Imaging of Neurodegeneration (BIN) Center, University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany
  • 2International Max Planck Research School in Chemical and Molecular Biology, Germany
  • 3Institute of Neuro- and Sensory Physiology and Biostructural Imaging of Neurodegeneration (BIN) Center, University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany

Synaptic transmission has been studied for decades, as a fundamental step in brain function. The structure of the synapse, and its changes during activity, turned out to be key aspects not only in the transfer of information between neurons, but also in cognitive processes such as learning and memory. The overall synaptic morphology has traditionally been studied by electron microscopy, which enables the visualization of synaptic structure in great detail. The changes in the organization of easily identified structures, such as the presynaptic active zone, or the postsynaptic density, are optimally studied via electron microscopy. However, few reliable methods are available for labeling individual organelles or protein complexes in electron microscopy. For such targets one typically relies either on combination of electron and fluorescence microscopy, or on super-resolution fluorescence microscopy. This review focuses on approaches and techniques used to specifically reveal synaptic organelles and protein complexes, such as cytoskeletal assemblies. We place the strongest emphasis on methods detecting the targets of interest by affinity binding, and we discuss the advantages and limitations of each method

Keywords: synapse, vesicles, cytoskeleon, Actin, nanoscopy, super-resolution

Received: 06 Jun 2019; Accepted: 02 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Reshetniak and Rizzoli. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Sofiia Reshetniak, University Medical Center Göttingen, Institute of Neuro- and Sensory Physiology, and Biostructural Imaging of Neurodegeneration (BIN) Center, Göttingen, 37075, Lower Saxony, Germany, sofiia.reshetniak@med.uni-goettingen.de