Optical measurement of glutamate release robustly reports short-term plasticity at a fast central synapse


Hain PJH, Moser T


Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience


Front. Mol. Neurosci. 17:1351280.


Introduction: Recently developed fluorescent neurotransmitter indicators have enabled direct measurements of neurotransmitter in the synaptic cleft. Precise optical measurements of neurotransmitter release may be used to make inferences about presynaptic function independent of electrophysiological measurements.

Methods: Here, we express iGluSnFR, a genetically encoded glutamate reporter in mouse spiral ganglion neurons to compare electrophysiological and optical readouts of presynaptic function and short-term synaptic plasticity at the endbulb of Held synapse.

Results: We show iGluSnFR robustly and approximately linearly reports glutamate release from the endbulb of Held during synaptic transmission and allows assessment of short-term plasticity during high-frequency train stimuli. Furthermore, we show that iGluSnFR expression slightly alters the time course of spontaneous postsynaptic currents, but is unlikely to impact measurements of evoked synchronous release of many synaptic vesicles.

We conclude that monitoring glutamate with optical sensors at fast and large central synapses like the endbulb of Held is feasible and allows robust quantification of some, but not all aspects of glutamate release.


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