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Organ der Neurowissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft

Editor-in-Chief: Wahle, Petra

CiteScore 2017: 0.02

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.105
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.007

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Volume 17, Issue 4


Bringing light to the inner life of synapses

S.J. Sigrist / C. Wichmann
Published Online: 2017-02-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13295-011-0023-4


Chemical synapses are pivotal for information transfer and storage within neuronal circuit­y. At the same time, various diseases of the nervous system most likely originate from disturbances in synapse structure and function. Synapses are very fast, extremely con­trolled and effective communication devices, with synaptic vesicles fusing at specialized membrane domains associated with highly-ordered protein architectures (cytomatrices) traditionally seen using electron microsco­py. Drosophila synapses with prominent cytomatrices called T-bars provide per se a highly suitable model system to apply genetic analysis to the roles of these protein architectures. Here we describe the principles behind these techniques as well as their application to the analysis of the molecular architecture of the synapse. In this context, the advent of super-resolution light microscopy methods yielding two- to 10-fold higher resolution than conventional microscopy has provided an efficient tool.

About the article

S.J. Sigrist

Studied chemistry and biochemistry in Berlin and Tübingen. He received his PhD from the University of Tübingen in 1997. After postdoctoral training in neurogenetics he led a Max-Planck Junior Research Group at the European Neuroscience Institute (ENI) in Göttingen. Since 2008 he has been a full professor of neurogenetics at the Freie Universitaet Berlin, and a director of the Neurocure Cluster of Excellence. His work focuses on mechanisms of synapse assembly and plasticity, particularly the question of how functional and structural differentiation of synapses is integrated. To this end, high resolution light microscopy and intravital imaging are combined with genetic approaches in Drosophila melanogaster.

C. Wichmann

studied biology at the Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany, from 1993 to 1999. After receiving her PhD in 2002, for which she investigated the activity of liposome-bound enzymes, she changed from microbiology to the field of neurosciences. She worked on the morphology of wild-type and mutant synapses of the fruitfly Drosophila via transmission electron microscopy as a member of Prof. Dr. Stephan Sigrist’s group at the European Neuroscience Institute Göttingen. She has been leading her own junior research group under Prof. Dr. Tobias Moser in the department of Otolaryngology at the UMG in Göttingen since July 2011. In this context, she is focusing on the molecular architecture and vesicle dynamics of mouse inner ear ribbon synapses, mainly using electron tomography and 3D serial reconstructions.

Published Online: 2017-02-25

Published in Print: 2011-12-01

Citation Information: e-Neuroforum, Volume 17, Issue 4, Pages 95–101, ISSN (Online) 1868-856X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13295-011-0023-4.

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