Hoffmann C, Rentsch J, Tsunoyama TA, Chhabra A, Aguilar Perez G, Chowdhury R, Trnka F, Korobeinikov AA, Shaib AH, Ganzella M, Giannone G, Rizzoli SO, Kusumi A, Ewers H, Milovanovic D
Nat Commun. 2023 Oct 23;14(1):6730.
Neuronal transmission relies on the regulated secretion of neurotransmitters, which are packed in synaptic vesicles (SVs). Hundreds of SVs accumulate at synaptic boutons. Despite being held together, SVs are highly mobile, so that they can be recruited to the plasma membrane for their rapid release during neuronal activity. However, how such confinement of SVs corroborates with their motility remains unclear. To bridge this gap, we employ ultrafast single-molecule tracking (SMT) in the reconstituted system of native SVs and in living neurons. SVs and synapsin 1, the most highly abundant synaptic protein, form condensates with liquid-like properties. In these condensates, synapsin 1 movement is slowed in both at short (i.e., 60-nm) and long (i.e., several hundred-nm) ranges, suggesting that the SV-synapsin 1 interaction raises the overall packing of the condensate. Furthermore, two-color SMT and super-resolution imaging in living axons demonstrate that synapsin 1 drives the accumulation of SVs in boutons. Even the short intrinsically-disordered fragment of synapsin 1 was sufficient to restore the native SV motility pattern in synapsin triple knock-out animals. Thus, synapsin 1 condensation is sufficient to guarantee reliable confinement and motility of SVs, allowing for the formation of mesoscale domains of SVs at synapses in vivo.