Editors' ChoiceNeurobiology

Controlling the Synapse

Science's STKE  23 May 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 336, pp. tw174
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3362006tw174

Synapses in the neuromuscular junction are key components involved in control of muscle movement. Kittel et al. (see the Perspective by Atwood) describe the role of Drosophila Bruchpilot (BRP), a coiled-coil domain protein, in the establishment and maintenance of synapses. BRP was localized to donut-shaped structures centered at the transmitter release sites (active zones) of Drosophila neuromuscular synapses. In mutants lacking BRP, presynaptic membranes were defective. The authors suggest that BRP is needed to form a fully functional synapse and might mediate presynaptic changes in vivo by establishing a proximity between Ca2+ channels and vesicles at release sites.

R. J. Kittel, C. Wichmann, T. M. Rasse, W. Fouquet, M. Schmidt, A. Schmid, D. A. Wagh, C. Pawlu, R. R. Kellner, K. I. Willig, S. W. Hell, E. Buchner, M. Heckmann, S. J. Sigrist, Bruchpilot promotes active zone assembly, Ca2+ channel clustering, and vesicle release. Science 312, 1051-1054 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]

H. L. Atwood, Gatekeeper at the synapse. Science 312, 1008-1009 (2006). [Summary] [Full Text]