High-resolution analysis of bound Ca2+ in neurons and synapses

Life Sci Alliance. 2023 Oct 13;7(1):e202302030. doi: 10.26508/lsa.202302030. Print 2024 Jan.


Calcium (Ca2+) is a well-known second messenger in all cells, and is especially relevant for neuronal activity. Neuronal Ca2+ is found in different forms, with a minority being freely soluble in the cell and more than 99% being bound to proteins. Free Ca2+ has received much attention over the last few decades, but protein-bound Ca2+ has been difficult to analyze. Here, we introduce correlative fluorescence and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry imaging as a tool to describe bound Ca2+ As expected, bound Ca2+ is ubiquitous. It does not correlate to free Ca2+ dynamics at the whole-neuron level, but does correlate significantly to the intensity of markers for GABAergic pre-synapse and glutamatergic post-synapses. In contrast, a negative correlation to pre-synaptic activity was observed, with lower levels of bound Ca2+ observed in the more active synapses. We conclude that bound Ca2+ may regulate neuronal activity and should receive more attention in the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Neurons* / metabolism
  • Synapses* / metabolism