Synaptic vesicle generation from activity-dependent bulk endosomes requires calcium and calcineurin

J Neurosci. 2013 Feb 20;33(8):3370-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4697-12.2013.


Activity-dependent bulk endocytosis (ADBE) is the dominant mode of synaptic vesicle (SV) endocytosis during high-frequency stimulation in central nerve terminals. ADBE generates endosomes direct from the plasma membrane, meaning that high concentrations of calcium will be present in their interior due to fluid phase uptake from the extracellular space. Morphological and fluorescent assays were used to track the generation of SVs from bulk endosomes in primary neuronal culture. This process was functionally uncoupled from both SV exocytosis and plasma membrane retrieval events by intervening only after SV fusion and endocytosis were completed. Either intracellular (BAPTA-AM) or intra-endosomal (Rhod-dextran) calcium chelation inhibited SV generation from bulk endosomes, indicating that calcium efflux from this compartment is critical for this process. The V-type ATPase antagonist bafilomycin A1 also arrested SV generation from bulk endosomes, indicating endosomal acidification may be required for calcium efflux. Finally, pharmacological inhibition of the calcium-dependent protein phosphatase calcineurin blocked endosomal SV generation, identifying it as a key downstream effector in this process. These results reveal a novel and key role for the fluid phase uptake of extracellular calcium and its subsequent efflux in the SV lifecycle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcineurin / physiology*
  • Calcium / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endocytosis / physiology
  • Endosomes / metabolism*
  • Endosomes / ultrastructure
  • Exocytosis / physiology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Synaptic Potentials / physiology*
  • Synaptic Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Vesicles / ultrastructure


  • Calcineurin
  • Calcium