The ins and outs of the synaptic vesicle cycle are being examined in increasing detail with diverse investigative tools in a variety of cell types, particularly those with large granules. The cycle begins with the opening of a fusion pore that connects the vesicle lumen to the extracellular fluid. Sensitive electrophysiological techniques reveal the often-stuttering behavior of single pores in non-neuronal cells, through which small molecules trickle until the fusion pore expands and the remaining contents erupt from the vesicle. The granule membranes are then retrieved by multiple processes that appear to act in parallel and that are distinguished from each other kinetically and ultrastructurally. Following endocytosis, synaptic vesicles are then shuttled back into the vesicle pool, where they briefly mix with other vesicles, become immobilized, and remain gelled with their neighbors, even while moving en masse again to the presynaptic membrane as a prelude for another round of exocytosis.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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