Cryoimmunoelectron microscopic localization of synaptic proteins in nerve terminals and astrocytic cells

Kryoimmunelektronenmikroskopische Lokalisierung synaptischer Proteine in Nervenendigungen und astrozytären Zellen

  • In the present study the cryo-immunogold technique was used and optimized for investigating the ultrastructure and immunolabeling of synaptic proteins. It is evidently a suitable method for the localization of membrane proteins since the antigens are not treated with any chemical denaturation before immunolabeling except for the fixation and since the antigens are directly exposed to the surface of the cryo-ultrasections. The v-SNARE VAMP II and the vesicle-associated proteins SV2 and Rab3A were detected extensively at small vesicles in the mossy fiber terminals. The t-SNARE SNAP-25, and N-type and P/Q type Ca2+ channels were allocated to the plasma membrane both at the active zone and outside the active zone. SNAP-25 and N-type Ca2+ channels appeared also at synaptic vesicles. A significantly increased immunolabeling of VAMP II, SV2, Rab3A, SNAP-25 and N-type Ca2+ channels was found at the active zones of fast synapses, indicating a concentration of these proteins at sites of exocytosis. The widespread distribution of the t-SNARE SNAP-25 at the axonal plasma membrane reveals that membrane-targeting specificity cannot be determined solely by v/t-SNARE interactions. Additional control components are required to assure the docking and exocytosis of the synaptic vesicles at active zones. The novel protein Bassoon was only found at active zones of central synapses and showed the highest specific labeling among all proteins investigated. Its labeling pattern implies an association of Bassoon with the presynaptic dense projections, the structural guide for vesicle exocytosis. The involvement of Bassoon in the organization of the neurotransmitter release site suggests that Bassoon may play an important role in determining the specificity of vesicle docking and fusion. In the neurosecretory endings of neurohypophysis the synaptic proteins VAMP II, SNAP- 25, SV2, Rab3A, and the N-type Ca2+ channels showed a preferential labeling over microvesicles. Moreover, the immunolabeling intensity of these proteins over microvesicles corresponded closely to that over synaptic vesicles. This suggests that these synaptic proteins share an identical association with synaptic vesicle and microvesicles. A significant labeling of SNAP-25, the N-type Ca2+ channels and VAMP II was also detected at the plasma membrane near the clustered microvesicles, indicating the competence of microvesicles for docking and exocytosis along the plasma membrane in the absence of active zones. No significant labeling of VAMP II, SNAP-25, SV2 and N-type Ca2+ channel was observed at the membrane of neurosecretory granules. This is in agreement with the notion that synaptic vesicles and microvesicles possess regulatory mechanisms for exocytosis different from those of granules. In contrast, a/ß-SNAP and NSF were found on the granules, and Rab3A and the P/Q-type Ca2+ channels on granules in a subset of terminals. Rab3A is associated specifically with the oxytocin-containing granule population. Interestingly, some plasma membrane proteins, such as SNAP-25 and even N-type Ca2+ channels and P/Q-type Ca2+ channels, were observed not only at the plasma membrane but also at the vesicular organelles. This suggests that these vesicular organelles may be involved in transporting newly synthesized proteins from the soma to the plasma membrane of the terminal. Furthermore, the vesicular pool of the Ca2+ channels may serve in the stimulationinduced translocation into the plasma membrane when required. Using the conventional preembedding method with Epon and the post-embedding method with LR Gold, VAMP II was localized at vesicular organelles of varying size and on horseradish peroxidase filled endocytic organelles in cultured astrocytes, with and without stimulation in the presence of the horseradish peroxidase. This indicates that VAMP II is involved in the cycle of vesicular exocytosis and endocytosis in astrocytes. U373 cells are capable of expressing all three members of the synaptic SNARE complex (v-SNARE VAMP II, t-SNARE syntaxin I and SNAP25). This indicates the competence of U373 to carry out regulated exocytosis by means of the classical SNARE mechanism. In addition, the ubiquitous v-SNARE cellubrevin and the endosome-associated small GTPbinding protein Rab5 could be expressed in U373 cells. All recombinant synaptic proteins investigated in U373 cells revealed a punctuate cellular distribution under the fluorescence microscope, suggesting that they are mainly associated with intracellular compartments. The cryo-electron microscopy provided direct evidence for the association of all expressed proteins with electron-lucent vesicular organelles. It further supports the potential of U373 MG cells to release low molecular weight messengers by a regulated exocytosis mechanism. In addition, myc-VAMP II was found on dispersed granules. Probably, VAMP II also participates in the exocytosis event of granules in U373 cells. Gold labeling for the two presumptive t-SNAREs syntaxin I and SNAP-25 in U373 cells was confined to the vesicular organelles. At the ultrastructural level no significant labeling was identified at the plasma membrane. The high level of colocalization of the two SNARE proteins VAMP II and syntaxin I in the cell body and in cell processes suggests that the two proteins are mostly sorted into identical vesicular organelles. A partial colocalization of VAMP II and cellubrevin as well as of VAMP II and Rab5 was observed under the fluorescence microscope. At the ultrastructural level, a colocalization of VAMP II and cellubrevin as well as of VAMP II and Rab5 was found on some clustered vesicles. The partial colocalization of VAMP II and cellubrevin implies that they similarly function as v-SNAREs. The partial colocalization of Rab5 with VAMP II in U373 cells suggests that the endosomal protein Rab5 is associated with VAMP II-containing organelles during some stages of their life cycle.

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Author:Lixia Zhang
Referee:Herbert Zimmermann
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2004/03/24
Year of first Publication:2004
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2004/01/15
Release Date:2004/03/24
Tag:Aktive Zone; Bassoon; Neurohypophyse; SNARE; Synaptisches Protein
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Biowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht