The focus of our research is the adaptation and development of high-resolution imaging techniques for studying cellular signaling and trafficking, with the emphasis on
presynaptic mechanisms during synaptic transmission. At the synapse, neurotransmitter is rapidly released from small vesicles which are triggered to fuse with the plasma membrane by the entry of Ca2+ ions (Fig.1).
The maintenance of synaptic transmission requires that these vesicles are retrieved by a reverse process, endocytosis. To delineate the mechanisms by which synaptic vesicle components can be retrieved we employ high- resolution imaging techniques, like two-photon laser scanning microscopy, fluorescence photo-activation localization microscopy (FPALM), and total internal reflection microscopy (TIRFM, Fig.2), as well as electrophysiology, electron microscopy including 3D reconstruction (Fig.1), and molecular biology approaches.
By overexpression of endogenous fluorescent probes (e.g. synaptopHluorin Fig.3) and the usage of knock-out models we can target or modulate specific proteins thought to be pivotal in synaptic vesicle endocytosis.