Neurotransmitter release at ribbon synapses in the retina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The synapses of photoreceptors and bipolar cells in the retina are easily identified ultrastructurally by the presence of synaptic ribbons, electron- lense bars perpendicular to the plasma membrane at the active zones, extending about 0.5 μm into the cytoplasm. The neurotransmitter, glutamate, is released continuously (tonically) from these 'ribbon synapses' and the rate of release is modulated in response to graded changes in the membrane potential. This contrasts with action potential-driven bursts of release at conventional synapses. Similar to other synapses, neurotransmitter is released at ribbon synapses by the calcium-dependent exocytosis of synaptic vesicles. Most components of the molecular machinery governing transmitter release are conserved between ribbon and conventional synapses, but a few differences have been identified that may be important determinants of tonic transmitter release. For example, the presynaptic calcium channels of bipolar cells and photoreceptors are different from those elsewhere in the brain. Differences have also been found in the proteins involved in synaptic vesicle recruitment to the active zone and in synaptic vesicle fusion. These differences and others are discussed in terms of their implications for neurotransmitter release from photoreceptors and bipolar cells in the retina.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-446
Number of pages5
JournalImmunology and Cell Biology
Volume78
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Synapses
Neurotransmitter Agents
Retina
Photoreceptor Cells
Synaptic Vesicles
Transmitters
Calcium Channels
Cell membranes
Machinery
Glutamic Acid
Brain
Fusion reactions
Calcium
Membranes
Electrons
Exocytosis
Membrane Potentials
Action Potentials
Cytoplasm
Proteins

Keywords

  • Bipolar cell
  • Calcium
  • Photoreceptor
  • Synapse
  • Synaptic ribbon
  • Synaptic vesicle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Neurotransmitter release at ribbon synapses in the retina. / Morgans, Catherine.

In: Immunology and Cell Biology, Vol. 78, No. 4, 2000, p. 442-446.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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