Revisiting synaptic vesicle pool localization in the Drosophila neuromuscular junction

J Physiol. 2009 Jun 15;587(Pt 12):2919-26. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2009.170985. Epub 2009 Apr 29.


The synaptic vesicles are organized in distinct populations or 'pools': the readily releasable pool (the first vesicles released upon stimulation), the recycling pool (which maintains release under moderate stimulation) and the reserve pool (which is called into action only upon strong, often unphysiological stimulation). A major question in the field is whether the pools consist of biochemically different vesicles or whether the pool tag is a spatial one (with the recycling vesicles found next to the release sites, and the reserve ones farther away). A strong and stable spatial segregation has been proposed in the last decade in the Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction--albeit based solely on light microscopy experiments. We have tested here this hypothesis using electron microscopy (EM) photoconversion. We found the recycling and reserve pools to be thoroughly intermixed at the EM level, indicating that spatial location is irrelevant for the functional properties of the vesicle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Buffers
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / ultrastructure
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Synaptic Vesicles / physiology*
  • Synaptic Vesicles / ultrastructure


  • Buffers
  • Fluorescent Dyes