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Molecular Nanomachines of the Presynaptic Terminal

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889199983 Year: Pages: 110 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-998-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Abstract

Synaptic transmission is the basis of neuronal communication and is thus the most important element in brain functions, ranging from sensory input to information processing. Changes in synaptic transmission can result in the formation or dissolution of memories, and can equally lead to neurological and psychiatric disorders. The proteins composing the synapse, and their respective functions, are getting increasingly known. One aspect that has become evident in the last years is that most synaptic functions are performed not by single proteins, but by highly organized multi-protein machineries, which interact dynamically to provide responses optimally suited to the needs of the neuronal network. To decipher synaptic and neuronal function, it is essential to understand the organisational, morphological and functional aspects of the molecular nanomachines that operate at the synapse. We discuss these aspects in 11 different chapters, focusing on the structure and function of the active zone, on the functional anatomy of the synaptic vesicle, and on some of the best known soluble protein complexes from the synapse, including those involved in endocytosis and vesicle recycling.

Imaging Synapse Structure and Function

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889451753 Year: Pages: 125 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-175-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-08-28 14:01:09
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Development of new imaging technologies in recent years has transformed neuroscience in profound ways. Following on the heels of the revolution based on the Green Fluorescent Protein, refined genetically-encoded fluorescent reporters and genetic targeting strategies now enable optical recording of synaptic transmission in defined neuronal populations at speeds approaching the enviable temporal resolution of electrophysiology. Super-resolution light microscopy permits observation of synapses and their molecular machinery at sub-diffraction resolution. At the ultrastructural level, automated forms of electron microscopy, improvements in specimen fixation methods, and recent efforts to correlate data from light and electron micrographs now make the reconstruction of functional neural circuits a reality. Finally, the use of optogenetic actuators, such as channelrhodopsins, allows precise temporal and spatial manipulation of neuronal activity and is revealing profound insights into the organization of neural circuits and their roles in behavior. This research topic highlights recent advances in both light and electron microscopy, with a specific focus on approaches that combine innovations from several different fields to obtain novel information about synapse structure and function. We are confident that this collection of articles - three original research papers, six reviews, one methods paper and one perspective article - will enable neuroscientists to achieve the next generation of experiments aimed at cracking the neural code.

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