Two synaptic vesicle pools, vesicle recruitment and replenishment of pools at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction

J Neurocytol. Jun-Sep 2003;32(5-8):551-65. doi: 10.1023/B:NEUR.0000020610.13554.3c.


Drosophila neuromuscular junctions ( D NMJs) are malleable and its synaptic strength changes with activities. Mobilization and recruitment of synaptic vesicles (SVs), and replenishment of SV pools in the presynaptic terminal are involved in control of synaptic efficacy. We have studied dynamics of SVs using a fluorescent styryl dye, FM1-43, which is loaded into SVs during endocytosis and released during exocytosis, and identified two SV pools. The exo/endo cycling pool (ECP) is loaded with FM1-43 during low frequency nerve stimulation and releases FM1-43 during exocytosis induced by high K(+). The ECP locates close to release sites in the periphery of presynaptic boutons. The reserve pool (RP) is loaded and unloaded only during high frequency stimulation and resides primarily in the center of boutons. The size of ECP closely correlates with the efficacy of synaptic transmission during low frequency neuronal firing. An increase of cAMP facilitates SV movement from RP to ECP. Post-tetanic potentiation (PTP) correlates well with recruitment of SVs from RP. Neither PTP nor post-tetanic recruitment of SVs from RP occurs in memory mutants that have defects in the cAMP/PKA cascade. Cyotochalasin D slows mobilization of SVs from RP, suggesting involvement of actin filaments in SV movement. During repetitive nerve stimulation the ECP is replenished, while RP replenishment occurs after tetanic stimulation in the absence of external Ca(2+). Mobilization of internal Ca(2+) stores underlies RP replenishment. SV dynamics is involved in synaptic plasticity and D NMJs are suitable for further studies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Drosophila
  • Humans
  • Neuromuscular Junction / metabolism*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology
  • Synaptic Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Vesicles / ultrastructure


  • Calcium