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(1/1005) The optically determined size of exo/endo cycling vesicle pool correlates with the quantal content at the neuromuscular junction of Drosophila larvae.

According to the current theory of synaptic transmission, the amplitude of evoked synaptic potentials correlates with the number of synaptic vesicles released at the presynaptic terminals. Synaptic vesicles in presynaptic boutons constitute two distinct pools, namely, exo/endo cycling and reserve pools (). We defined the vesicles that were endocytosed and exocytosed during high K+ stimulation as the exo/endo cycling vesicle pool. To determine the role of exo/endo cycling vesicle pool in synaptic transmission, we estimated the quantal content electrophysiologically, whereas the pool size was determined optically using fluorescent dye FM1-43. We then manipulated the size of the pool with following treatments. First, to change the state of boutons of nerve terminals, motoneuronal axons were severed. With this treatment, the size of exo/endo cycling vesicle pool decreased together with the quantal content. Second, we promoted the FM1-43 uptake using cyclosporin A, which inhibits calcineurin activities and enhances endocytosis. Cyclosporin A increased the total uptake of FM1-43, but neither the size of exo/endo cycling vesicle pool nor the quantal content changed. Third, we increased the size of exo/endo cycling vesicle pool by forskolin, which enhances synaptic transmission. The forskolin treatment increased both the size of exo/endo cycling vesicle pool and the quantal content. Thus, we found that the quantal content was closely correlated with the size of exo/endo cycling vesicle pool but not necessarily with the total uptake of FM1-43 fluorescence by boutons. The results suggest that vesicles in the exo/endo cycling pool primarily participate in evoked exocytosis of vesicles.  (+info)

(2/1005) Endogenous platelet-activating factor is critically involved in effector functions of eosinophils stimulated with IL-5 or IgG.

Eosinophil activation and subsequent release of inflammatory mediators are implicated in the pathophysiology of allergic diseases. Eosinophils are activated by various classes of secretagogues, such as cytokines (e.g., IL-5), lipid mediators (e.g., platelet-activating factor (PAF)), and Ig (e.g., immobilized IgG). However, do these agonists act directly on eosinophils or indirectly through the generation of intermediate active metabolites? We now report that endogenous PAF produced by activated eosinophils plays a critical role in eosinophil functions. Human eosinophils produced superoxide when stimulated with immobilized IgG, soluble IL-5, or PAF. Pretreating eosinophils with pertussis toxin abolished their responses to these stimuli, suggesting involvement of a metabolite(s) that acts on G proteins. Indeed, PAF was detected in supernatants from eosinophils stimulated with IgG or IL-5. Furthermore, structurally distinct PAF antagonists, including CV6209, hexanolamine PAF, and Y-24180 (israpafant), inhibited IgG- or IL-5-induced superoxide production and degranulation. Previous reports indicated that exogenous PAF stimulates eosinophil eicosanoid production through formation of lipid bodies. We found in this study that IgG or IL-5 also induces lipid body formation and subsequent leukotriene C4 production mediated by endogenous PAF. Finally, inhibition of cytosolic phospholipase A2, one of the key enzymes involved in PAF synthesis, attenuated both PAF production and effector functions of eosinophils. These findings suggest that endogenous PAF plays important roles in eosinophil functional responses to various exogenous stimuli, such as cytokines and Igs. Therefore, inhibition of PAF synthesis or action may be beneficial for the treatment of eosinophilic inflammation.  (+info)

(3/1005) Mechanism linking T-wave alternans to the genesis of cardiac fibrillation.

BACKGROUND: Although T-wave alternans has been closely associated with vulnerability to ventricular arrhythmias, the cellular processes underlying T-wave alternans and their role, if any, in the mechanism of reentry remain unclear. METHODS AND RESULTS: -T-wave alternans on the surface ECG was elicited in 8 Langendorff-perfused guinea pig hearts during fixed-rate pacing while action potentials were recorded simultaneously from 128 epicardial sites with voltage-sensitive dyes. Alternans of the repolarization phase of the action potential was observed above a critical threshold heart rate (HR) (209+/-46 bpm) that was significantly lower (by 57+/-36 bpm) than the HR threshold for alternation of action potential depolarization. The magnitude (range, 2.7 to 47.0 mV) and HR threshold (range, 171 to 272 bpm) of repolarization alternans varied substantially between cells across the epicardial surface. T-wave alternans on the surface ECG was explained primarily by beat-to-beat alternation in the time course of cellular repolarization. Above a critical HR, membrane repolarization alternated with the opposite phase between neighboring cells (ie, discordant alternans), creating large spatial gradients of repolarization. In the presence of discordant alternans, a small acceleration of pacing cycle length produced a characteristic sequence of events: (1) unidirectional block of an impulse propagating against steep gradients of repolarization, (2) reentrant propagation, and (3) the initiation of ventricular fibrillation. CONCLUSIONS: Repolarization alternans at the level of the single cell accounts for T-wave alternans on the surface ECG. Discordant alternans produces spatial gradients of repolarization of sufficient magnitude to cause unidirectional block and reentrant ventricular fibrillation. These data establish a mechanism linking T-wave alternans of the ECG to the pathogenesis of sudden cardiac death.  (+info)

(4/1005) Functional repair of motor endplates after botulinum neurotoxin type A poisoning: biphasic switch of synaptic activity between nerve sprouts and their parent terminals.

Blockade of acetylcholine release by botulinum neurotoxin type A at the neuromuscular junction induces the formation of an extensive network of nerve-terminal sprouts. By repeated in vivo imaging of N-(3-triethyl ammonium propyl)-4-(4-(dibutylamino)styryl) pyridinium dibromide uptake into identified nerve endings of the mouse sternomastoid muscle after a single intramuscular injection of the toxin, inhibition of stimulated uptake of the dye at the terminals was detected within a few days, together with an increase in staining of the newly formed sprouts. After 28 days, when nerve stimulation again elicited muscle contraction, regulated vesicle recycling occurred only in the sprouts [shown to contain certain soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment proteins (SNAREs) and to abut acetylcholine receptors] and not at the parent terminals. Therefore, only these sprouts could be responsible for nerve-muscle transmission at this time. However, a second, distinct phase of the rehabilitation process followed with a return of vesicle turnover to the original terminals, accompanied by an elimination of the by then superfluous sprouts. This extension and later removal of "functional" sprouts indicate their fundamental importance in the repair of paralyzed endplates, a finding with ramifications for the vital process of nerve regeneration.  (+info)

(5/1005) A vital stain for studying membrane dynamics in bacteria: a novel mechanism controlling septation during Bacillus subtilis sporulation.

At the onset of sporulation in Bacillus subtilis, two potential division sites are assembled at each pole, one of which will be used to synthesize the asymmetrically positioned sporulation septum. Using the vital stain FM 4-64 to label the plasma membrane of living cells, we examined the fate of these potential division sites in wild-type cells and found that, immediately after the formation of the sporulation septum, a partial septum was frequently synthesized within the mother cell at the second potential division site. Using time-lapse deconvolution microscopy, we were able to watch these partial septa first appear and then disappear during sporulation. Septal dissolution was dependent on sigma E activity and was partially inhibited in mutants lacking the sigma E-controlled proteins SpoIID, SpoIIM and SpoIIP, which may play a role in mediating the degradation of septal peptidoglycan. Our results support a model in which sigma E inhibits division at the second potential division site by two distinct mechanisms: inhibition of septal biogenesis and the degradation of partial septa formed before sigma E activation.  (+info)

(6/1005) High-speed, random-access fluorescence microscopy: II. Fast quantitative measurements with voltage-sensitive dyes.

An improved method for making fast quantitative determinations of membrane potential with voltage-sensitive dyes is presented. This method incorporates a high-speed, random-access, laser-scanning scheme (Bullen et al., 1997. Biophys. J. 73:477-491) with simultaneous detection at two emission wavelengths. The basis of this ratiometric approach is the voltage-dependent shift in the emission spectrum of the voltage-sensitive dye di-8-butyl-amino-naphthyl-ethylene-pyridinium-propyl-sulfonate (di-8-ANEPPS). Optical measurements are made at two emission wavelengths, using secondary dichroic beamsplitting and dual photodetectors (<570 nm and >570 nm). Calibration of the ratiometric measurements between signals at these wavelengths was achieved using simultaneous optical and patch-clamp measurements from adjacent points. Data demonstrating the linearity, precision, and accuracy of this technique are presented. Records obtained with this method exhibited a voltage resolution of approximately 5 mV, without any need for temporal or spatial averaging. Ratiometric recordings of action potentials from isolated hippocampal neurons are used to illustrate the usefulness of this approach. This method is unique in that it is the first to allow quantitative determination of dynamic membrane potential changes in a manner optimized for both high spatiotemporal resolution (2 micrometers and <0.5 ms) and voltage discrimination.  (+info)

(7/1005) Analysis of multiquantal transmitter release from single cultured cortical neuron terminals.

Application of single synapse recording methods indicates that the amplitude of postsynaptic responses of single CNS synapses can vary greatly among repeated stimuli. To determine whether this observation could be attributed to synapses releasing a variable number of transmitter quanta, we assessed the prevalence of multiquantal transmitter release in primary cultures of cortical neurons with the action potential (AP)-dependent presynaptic turnover of the styryl dye FM1-43 (,; ). It was assumed that if a high proportion of vesicles within a terminal were loaded with FM1-43 the amount of dye released per stimulus would be proportional to the number of quanta released and/or the probability of release at a terminal. To rule out differences in the amount of release (between terminals) caused by release probability or incomplete loading of terminals, conditions were chosen to maximize both release probability and terminal loading. Three-dimensional reconstruction of terminals was employed to ensure that bouton fluorescence was accurately measured. Analysis of the relationship between the loading of terminals and release indicated that presumed larger terminals (>FM1-43 uptake) release a greater amount of dye per stimulus than smaller terminals, suggesting multiquantal release. The distribution of release amounts across terminals was significantly skewed toward higher values, with 13-17% of synaptic terminals apparently releasing multiple quanta per AP. In conclusion, our data suggest that most synaptic terminals release a relatively constant amount of transmitter per stimulus; however, a subset of terminals releases amounts of FM1-43 that are greater than that expected from a unimodal release process.  (+info)

(8/1005) Properties of fast endocytosis at hippocampal synapses.

Regulation of synaptic transmission is a widespread means for dynamic alterations in nervous system function. In several cases, this regulation targets vesicular recycling in presynaptic terminals and may result in substantial changes in efficiency of synaptic transmission. Traditionally, experimental accessibility of the synaptic vesicle cycle in central neuronal synapses has been largely limited to the exocytotic side, which can be monitored with electrophysiological responses to neurotransmitter release. Recently, physiological measurements on the endocytotic portion of the cycle have been made possible by the introduction of styryl dyes such as FM1-43 as fluorescent markers for recycling synaptic vesicles. Here we demonstrate the existence of fast endocytosis in hippocampal nerve terminals and derive its kinetics from fluorescence measurements using dyes with varying rates of membrane departitioning. The rapid mode of vesicular retrieval was greatly speeded by exposure to staurosporine or elevated extracellular calcium. The effective time-constant for retrieval can be < 2 seconds under appropriate conditions. Thus, hippocampal synapses capitalize on efficient mechanisms for endocytosis and their vesicular retrieval is subject to modulatory control.  (+info)