Cooperative function of synaptophysin and synapsin in the generation of synaptic vesicle-like clusters in non-neuronal cells

Daehun Park, Yumei Wu, Sang Eun Lee, Goeun Kim, Seonyoung Jeong, Dragomir Milovanovic, Pietro De Camilli, Sunghoe Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Clusters of tightly packed synaptic vesicles (SVs) are a defining feature of nerve terminals. While SVs are mobile within the clusters, the clusters have no boundaries consistent with a liquid phase. We previously found that purified synapsin, a peripheral SV protein, can assemble into liquid condensates and trap liposomes into them. How this finding relates to the physiological formation of SV clusters in living cells remains unclear. Here, we report that synapsin alone, when expressed in fibroblasts, has a diffuse cytosolic distribution. However, when expressed together with synaptophysin, an integral SV membrane protein previously shown to be localized on small synaptic-like microvesicles when expressed in non-neuronal cells, is sufficient to organize such vesicles in clusters highly reminiscent of SV clusters and with liquid-like properties. This minimal reconstitution system can be a powerful model to gain mechanistic insight into the assembly of structures which are of fundamental importance in synaptic transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number263
JournalNature Communications
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

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