Protein synthesizing units in presynaptic and postsynaptic domains of squid neurons

Rainer Martin*, Bianca Vaida, Reiner Bleher, Marianna Crispino, Antonio Giuditta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Putative protein synthesizing domains, called plaques, are characterized in the squid giant synapse and axon and in terminals of squid photoreceptor neurons. Plaques are oval-shaped formations of about 1 μm in size, which (1) generate signals that have spectroscopic electron energy loss characteristics of ribosomes, (2) exhibit ribonuclease-sensitive binding of YOYO-1, a fluorescent RNA/DNA dye, and (3) in part hybridize with a poly(dT) oligonucleotide. In the giant synapse plaques are abundant in the postsynaptic area, but are absent in the presynaptic terminal. In the cortical layer of the optic lobes, plaques are localized in the large carrot-shaped presynaptic terminals of photoreceptor neurons, where they are surrounded by synaptic vesicles and mitochondria. Biochemical and autoradiographic data have documented that the protein synthetic activity of squid optic lobe synaptosomes is largely due to the presynaptic terminals of the photoreceptor neurons. The identification of ribosomes and poly(A+)-mRNA in the plaques indicates that these structures are sites of local protein synthesis in synaptic domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3157-3166
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 1998


  • Energy loss spectroscopy
  • In situ hybridization
  • mRNA
  • Presynaptic ending
  • Ribosome
  • Squid giant synapse
  • Squid photoreceptor neuron
  • YOYO-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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