Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
On-line version ISSN 1414-431X
GUATIMOSIM, C.; ROMANO-SILVA, M.A.; GOMEZ, M.V. and PRADO, M.A.M.. Use of fluorescent probes to follow membrane traffic in nerve terminals. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 1998, vol.31, n.11, pp. 1491-1500. ISSN 1414-431X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X1998001100018.
Optical tracers in conjunction with fluorescence microscopy have become widely used to follow the movement of synaptic vesicles in nerve terminals. The present review discusses the use of these optical methods to understand the regulation of exocytosis and endocytosis of synaptic vesicles. The maintenance of neurotransmission depends on the constant recycling of synaptic vesicles and important insights have been gained by visualization of vesicles with the vital dye FM1-43. A number of questions related to the control of recycling of synaptic vesicles by prolonged stimulation and the role of calcium to control membrane internalization are now being addressed. It is expected that optical monitoring of presynaptic activity coupled to appropriate genetic models will contribute to the understanding of membrane traffic in synaptic terminals.
Keywords : laser scanning confocal microscopy; FM1-43; exocytosis; synaptic vesicles; endocytosis.