Snapshot of protein mobility in the synapse. A region within the synapse at the edge of the synaptic vesicle cluster is shown. Organelles in grey represent synaptic vesicles (each ~40 nm in diameter). Various shapes correspond to different protein molecules, with each protein species having its own shape, as extracted from stuctural studies. The proteins are colored based on the speed of movement of every individual molecule in every position, from dark violet (the slowest one) to yellow (the fastest). Most proteins move slowly next to the synaptic vesicles, and are much faster in the vesicle-free region. Source: Reshetniak and co-authors

In one sweep: Visualization of protein mobility in the synapse

A team of scientists around Prof. Dr. Silvio O. Rizzoli and Prof. Dr. Sarah Köster was able to generate the first visualizations of movement of 45 proteins in a cell simultaneously, thus demonstrating the realistic mobility of thousands of protein molecules represented in their realistic shapes and sizes within a synapse. The study uncovers several correlations of mobility parameters to the presence of different building blocks of the proteins, namely to different amino acids in the protein sequence or to the presence of particular nucleotides in the protein-encoding mRNA sequence. The results of the scientists engaged in the Cluster of Excellence Multiscale Bioimaging (MBExC) and the Göttingen Collaborative Research Centers 1286 and 1190 are summarized in a video animation, and have been published in the renowned scientific journal “The EMBO Journal” on July 6, 2020.

Link to the press release