Synaptic ribbon. Conveyor belt or safety belt?

Neuron. 2003 Feb 6;37(3):379-82. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(03)00062-x.


The synaptic ribbon in neurons that release transmitter via graded potentials has been considered as a conveyor belt that actively moves vesicles toward their release sites. But evidence has accumulated to the contrary, and it now seems plausible that the ribbon serves instead as a safety belt to tether vesicles stably in mutual contact and thus facilitate multivesicular release by compound exocytosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exocytosis / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • Synaptic Vesicles / physiology*