Absence of Junctional Glutamate Receptor Clusters in Drosophila Mutants Lacking Spontaneous Transmitter Release

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Science  20 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5529, pp. 514-517
DOI: 10.1126/science.1061270

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Little is known about the functional significance of spontaneous miniature synaptic potentials, which are the result of vesicular exocytosis at nerve terminals. Here, by usingDrosophila mutants with specific defects in presynaptic function, we found that glutamate receptors clustered normally at neuromuscular junctions of mutants that retained spontaneous transmitter secretion but had lost the ability to release transmitter in response to action potentials. In contrast, receptor clustering was defective in mutants in which both spontaneous and evoked vesicle exocytosis were absent. Thus, spontaneous vesicle exocytosis appears to be tightly linked to the clustering of glutamate receptors during development.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: saitoe{at}

  • Present address: Division of Neuroscience, 300 Longwood Avenue, Enders, 208 Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

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