The organization of synaptic vesicles at tonically transmitting connections of locust visual interneurons
Leitinger, G.; Simmons, P.J.
Journal of Neurobiology 50(2): 93-105
ISSN/ISBN: 0022-3034 PMID: 11793357 DOI: 10.1002/neu.10018
Large, second-order neurons of locust ocelli, or L-neurons, make some output connections that transmit small changes in membrane potential and can sustain transmission tonically. The synaptic connections are made from the axons of L-neurons in the lateral ocellar tracts, and are characterized by bar-shaped presynaptic densities and densely packed clouds of vesicles near to the cell membrane. A cloud of vesicles can extend much of the length of this synaptic zone, and there is no border between the vesicles that are associated with neighboring presynaptic densities. In some axons, presynaptic densities are associated with discrete small clusters of vesicles. Up to 6% of the volume of a length of axon in a synaptic zone can be occupied with a vesicle cloud, packed with 4.5 to 5.5 thousand vesicles per mum3. Presynaptic densities vary in length, from less than 70 nm to 1.5 mum, with shorter presynaptic densities being most frequent. The distribution of vesicles around short presynaptic densities was indistinguishable from that around long presynaptic densities, and vesicles were distributed in a similar way right along the length of a presynaptic density. Within the cytoplasm, vesicles are homogeneously distributed within a cloud. We found no differences in the distribution of vesicles in clouds between locusts that had been dark-adapted and locusts that had been light-adapted before fixation.