<figcaption>Hippocampal astrocyte expressing GFP Credit: Courtesy of Khaleel Bhaukaurally</figcaption>
Hippocampal astrocyte expressing GFP Credit: Courtesy of Khaleel Bhaukaurally

The paper:

P. Bezzi et al., "Astrocytes contain a vesicular compartment that is competent for regulated exocytosis of glutamate," Nat Neurosci, 7:613-20, 2004. (Cited in 86 papers)

The finding:

The discovery of a clear, synaptic-like microvesicle in the adult hippocampal astrocyte, by Andrea Volterra's group at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, provided the framework for understanding the structural and functional mechanisms of its uptake, storage, and release of glutamate.

The challenge:

The treatment of the tissue used to enhance structural resolution of the vesicles decreased the immunogold labeling of glutamate transporters, which signal vesicles releasing glutamate. Vidar Gundersen, an electron microscopist at the University of Oslo, provided guidance on the optimal staining levels, says Volterra.

The follow-up:

Zhuan Zhou's team at Peking University observed that glutamate is secreted in a "kiss-and-run" fashion, releasing about 5% to 10% of its contents,...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?