Two forms of single-vesicle astrocyte exocytosis imaged with total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy

David Nicholas Bowser, Baljit S Khakh

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Transmitters such as glutamate and ATP are released from brain astrocytes. Several pathways for their release have been proposed, including exocytosis. In the present study we sought to measure exocytosis from astrocytes with single vesicle imaging methods using synaptopHlourin (SpH) as an optical reporter. We imaged single SpH-laden vesicles with total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy. We observed spontaneous, as well as evoked, single-vesicle exocytosis events. Analysis of the kinetics and spatial spread associated with these events indicated two discernible forms of single vesicle exocytosis. One form, constituting approximately 40 of the spontaneous events, was akin to kiss-and-run vesicle fusion and captured a mobile proton buffer from the extracellular medium. The other form seems to represent full vesicle fusion, constitutes approximately 60 of the spontaneous events, and is associated with complete mixing of the vesicle and plasma membranes. Activation of calcium-mobilizing receptors on the astrocyte surface selected between the different forms of exocytosis. These data provide evidence for two forms of simultaneously occurring single-vesicle exocytosis events in astrocytes, and also suggest that SpH imaging and TIRF microscopy is useful to study the mechanisms of astrocyte transmitter release.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4212 - 4217
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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