, Volume 282, Issue 3, pp 423-433

Mice lacking synaptophysin reproduce and form typical synaptic vesicles

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Abstract

Synaptophysin is one of the major integral membrane proteins of the small (30–50 nm diameter) electron-translucent transmitter-containing vesicles in neurons and of similar vesicles in neuroendocrine cells. Since its expression is tightly linked to the occurrence of these vesicle types, we mutated the X-chromosomally located synaptophysin gene in embryonic stem cells for the generation of synaptophysin-deficient mice in order to study the consequence of synaptophysin ablation for the formation and function of such vesicles in vivo. the behavior and appearance of mice lacking synaptophysin was indistinguishable from that of their litter mates and reproductive capacity was comparable to normal mice. Furthermore, no drastic compensatory changes were noted in the expression of several other neuronal polypeptides or in the mRNA levels of synaptophysin isoforms, the closely related neuronal synaptoporin/synaptophysinII, and the ubiquitous pantophysin. Immunofluorescence microscopy of several neuronal and neuroendocrine tissues showed that overall tissue architecture was maintained in the absence of synaptophysin, and that the distribution of other synaptic vesicle components was not visibly affected. In electron-microscopic preparations, large numbers of vesicles with a diameter of 39.9 nm and an electron-translucent interior were seen in synaptic regions of synaptophysin-deficient mice; these vesicles could be labeled by antibodies against synaptic vesicle proteins, such as synaptobrevin 2.

This research was supported by the DFG-SFB 317