Recruitment of release sites underlies chemical presynaptic potentiation at hippocampal mossy fiber boutons


  • M. Orlando
  • A. Dvorzhak
  • F. Bruentgens
  • M. Maglione
  • B.R. Rost
  • S.J. Sigrist
  • J. Breustedt
  • D. Schmitz


  • PLoS Biology


  • PLoS Biol 19 (6): e3001149


  • Synaptic plasticity is a cellular model for learning and memory. However, the expression mechanisms underlying presynaptic forms of plasticity are not well understood. Here, we investigate functional and structural correlates of presynaptic potentiation at large hippocampal mossy fiber boutons induced by the adenylyl cyclase activator forskolin. We performed 2-photon imaging of the genetically encoded glutamate sensor iGlu(u) that revealed an increase in the surface area used for glutamate release at potentiated terminals. Time-gated stimulated emission depletion microscopy revealed no change in the coupling distance between P/Q-type calcium channels and release sites mapped by Munc13-1 cluster position. Finally, by high-pressure freezing and transmission electron microscopy analysis, we found a fast remodeling of synaptic ultrastructure at potentiated boutons: Synaptic vesicles dispersed in the terminal and accumulated at the active zones, while active zone density and synaptic complexity increased. We suggest that these rapid and early structural rearrangements might enable long-term increase in synaptic strength.