Synaptic ribbons are large proteinaceous scaffolds at the active zone of ribbon synapses that are specialized for rapid sustained synaptic vesicles exocytosis. A single ribbon-specific protein is known, RIBEYE, suggesting that ribbons may be constructed from RIBEYE protein. RIBEYE knockdown in zebrafish, however, only reduced but did not eliminate ribbons, indicating a more ancillary role. Here, we show in mice that full deletion of RIBEYE abolishes all presynaptic ribbons in retina synapses. Using paired recordings in acute retina slices, we demonstrate that deletion of RIBEYE severely impaired fast and sustained neurotransmitter release at bipolar neuron/AII amacrine cell synapses and rendered spontaneous miniature release sensitive to the slow Ca(2+)-buffer EGTA, suggesting that synaptic ribbons mediate nano-domain coupling of Ca(2+) channels to synaptic vesicle exocytosis. Our results show that RIBEYE is essential for synaptic ribbons as such, and may organize presynaptic nano-domains that position release-ready synaptic vesicles adjacent to Ca(2+) channels.
Keywords: CtBP2; GCamP3; RIBEYE knockout; photoreceptors; tonic release.
© 2016 The Authors.