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Pre-and postsynaptic nanostructures increase in size and complexity after LTP induction
Valérie Clavet-Fournier, ChungKu Lee, Waja Wegner, Nils Brose, JeongSeop Rhee, Katrin I. Willig
Live-Cell Imaging, Organotypic Brain-Slice, Synaptic nanostructure
Synapses, specialized contact sites between neurons, are the fundamental elements of neuronal information transfer. Synaptic plasticity is related to changes in synaptic morphology and the number of neurotransmitter receptors, and thought to underlie learning and memory. However, it is not clear how these structural and functional changes are connected. We utilized time-lapse super-resolution STED microscopy to visualize structural changes of the synaptic nano-organization of the postsynaptic scaffolding protein PSD95, the presynaptic scaffolding protein Bassoon, and the GluA2 subunit of AMPA receptors by chemically induced long-term potentiation (cLTP) at the level of single synapses. We found that the nano-organization of all three proteins undergoes an increase in complexity and size after cLTP induction. The increase was largely synchronous, peaking at ∼60 min after stimulation. Therefore, both the size and complexity of single pre- and post-synaptic nanostructures serve as substrates for adjusting and determining synaptic strength.