Anatomy and Cell Biology Publications

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-8-2013

Journal

PLOS ONE

Volume

8

Issue

11

URL with Digital Object Identifier

10.1371/journal.pone.0078342

Abstract

In vertebrates, nerve muscle communication is mediated by the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine packed inside synaptic vesicles by a specific vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT). Here we used a mouse model (VAChT KDHOM) with 70% reduction in the expression of VAChT to investigate the morphological and functional consequences of a decreased acetylcholine uptake and release in neuromuscular synapses. Upon hypertonic stimulation, VAChT KDHOM mice presented a reduction in the amplitude and frequency of miniature endplate potentials, FM 1-43 staining intensity, total number of synaptic vesicles and altered distribution of vesicles within the synaptic terminal. In contrast, under electrical stimulation or no stimulation, VAChT KDHOM neuromuscular junctions did not differ from WT on total number of vesicles but showed altered distribution. Additionally, motor nerve terminals in VAChT KDHOM exhibited small and flattened synaptic vesicles similar to that observed in WT mice treated with vesamicol that blocks acetylcholine uptake. Based on these results, we propose that decreased VAChT levels affect synaptic vesicle biogenesis and distribution whereas a lower ACh content affects vesicles shape.


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