Transport of synaptic vesicles (SVs) in nerve terminals is thought to play essential roles in maintenance of neurotransmission. To identify factors modulating SV movements, we performed real-time imaging analysis of fluorescently labeled SVs in giant calyceal and conventional hippocampal terminals. Compared with small hippocampal terminals, SV movements in giant calyceal terminals were faster, longer and kinetically more heterogeneous. Morphological maturation of giant calyceal terminals was associated with an overall reduction in SV mobility and displacement heterogeneity. At the molecular level, SVs over-expressing vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGLUT1) showed higher mobility than VGLUT2-expressing SVs. Pharmacological disruption of the presynaptic microtubule network preferentially reduced long directional movements of SVs between release sites. Functionally, synaptic stimulation appeared to recruit SVs to active zones without significantly altering their mobility. Hence, the morphological features of nerve terminals and the molecular signature of vesicles are key elements determining vesicular dynamics and movements in central synapses.
Keywords: cell biology; microtubule; mobility; morphology; mouse; neuroscience; presynaptic terminal; synaptic vesicle; vesicular glutamate transporter.