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Structural basis of astrocytic Ca2+ signals at tripartite synapses


Abstract

Astrocytic Ca2+ signals can be fast and local, supporting the idea that astrocytes have the ability to regulate single synapses. However, the anatomical basis of such specific signaling remains unclear, owing to difficulties in resolving the spongiform domain of astrocytes where most tripartite synapses are located. Using 3D-STED microscopy in living organotypic brain slices, we imaged the spongiform domain of astrocytes and observed a reticular meshwork of nodes and shafts that often formed loop-like structures. These anatomical features were also observed in acute hippocampal slices and in barrel cortex in vivo. The majority of dendritic spines were contacted by nodes and their sizes were correlated. FRAP experiments and Ca2+ imaging showed that nodes were biochemical compartments and Ca2+ microdomains. Mapping astrocytic Ca2+ signals onto STED images of nodes and dendritic spines showed they were associated with individual synapses. Here, we report on the nanoscale organization of astrocytes, identifying nodes as a functional astrocytic component of tripartite synapses that may enable synapse-specific communication between neurons and astrocytes.

Abstract

Astrocytic Ca2+ signals can be fast and local, supporting the idea that astrocytes have the ability to regulate single synapses. However, the anatomical basis of such specific signaling remains unclear, owing to difficulties in resolving the spongiform domain of astrocytes where most tripartite synapses are located. Using 3D-STED microscopy in living organotypic brain slices, we imaged the spongiform domain of astrocytes and observed a reticular meshwork of nodes and shafts that often formed loop-like structures. These anatomical features were also observed in acute hippocampal slices and in barrel cortex in vivo. The majority of dendritic spines were contacted by nodes and their sizes were correlated. FRAP experiments and Ca2+ imaging showed that nodes were biochemical compartments and Ca2+ microdomains. Mapping astrocytic Ca2+ signals onto STED images of nodes and dendritic spines showed they were associated with individual synapses. Here, we report on the nanoscale organization of astrocytes, identifying nodes as a functional astrocytic component of tripartite synapses that may enable synapse-specific communication between neurons and astrocytes.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > General Chemistry
Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Physical Sciences > General Physics and Astronomy
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Physics and Astronomy, General Chemistry
Language:English
Date:1 December 2020
Deposited On:20 Jan 2021 10:38
Last Modified:01 Feb 2021 16:26
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2041-1723
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15648-4
PubMed ID:32312988

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