Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Neurotransmission in Living Color

Science Signaling  16 Jun 2009:
Vol. 2, Issue 75, pp. ec203
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.275ec203

Neurotransmission involves the release of small molecular neurotransmitters from one neuron to another across a synapse. Gubernator et al. introduce a means to observe neurotransmitter release optically, by the design of fluorescent false neurotransmitters, which act as substrates for the synaptic vesicle monoamine transporter. These endogenous monoamine optical tracers enabled visualization of neurotransmitter uptake and release from individual synaptic terminals and were used to evaluate dopamine neurotransmission in the striatum. The fraction of synaptic vesicles that release neurotransmitter per stimulus was frequency dependent, and a frequency-dependent selection of presynaptic terminals was observed.

N. G. Gubernator, H. Zhang, R. G. W. Staal, E. V. Mosharov, D. B. Pereira, M. Yue, V. Balsanek, P. A. Vadola, B. Mukherjee, R. H. Edwards, D. Sulzer, D. Sames, Fluorescent false neurotransmitters visualize dopamine release from individual presynaptic terminals. Science 324, 1441–1444 (2009). [Abstract] [Full Text]