Astrocytic vesicles and gliotransmitters: Slowness of vesicular release and synaptobrevin2-laden vesicle nanoarchitecture

Academic Article


  • Neurotransmitters released at synapses activate neighboring astrocytes, which in turn, modulate neuronal activity by the release of diverse neuroactive substances that include classical neurotransmitters such as glutamate, GABA or ATP. Neuroactive substances are released from astrocytes through several distinct molecular mechanisms, for example, by diffusion through membrane channels, by translocation via plasmalemmal transporters or by vesicular exocytosis. Vesicular release regulated by a stimulus-mediated increase in cytosolic calcium involves soluble N-ethyl maleimide-sensitive fusion protein attachment protein receptor (SNARE)-dependent merger of the vesicle membrane with the plasmalemma. Up to 25 molecules of synaptobrevin 2 (Sb2), a SNARE complex protein, reside at a single astroglial vesicle; an individual neuronal, i.e. synaptic, vesicle contains ~70 Sb2 molecules. It is proposed that this paucity of Sb2 molecules in astrocytic vesicles may determine the slow secretion. In the present essay we shall overview multiple aspects of vesicular architecture and types of vesicles based on their cargo and dynamics in astroglial cells.
  • Published In

  • Neuroscience  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zorec R; Verkhratsky A; Rodríguez JJ; Parpura V
  • Start Page

  • 67
  • End Page

  • 75
  • Volume

  • 323