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Review

Quantitative Synaptic Biology: A Perspective on Techniques, Numbers and Expectations

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Institute for Neuro- and Sensory Physiology and Biostructural Imaging of Neurodegeneration (BIN) Center, University Medical Center Göttingen, 37073 Göttingen, Germany
2
International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
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Cluster of Excellence “Multiscale Bioimaging: from Molecular Machines to Networks of Excitable Cells” (MBExC), University of Göttingen, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
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Institute for Neuropathology, University Medical Center Göttingen, 37075 Göttingen, Germany
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Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of Göttingen, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
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Third Institute of Physics, University of Göttingen, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7298; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197298
Received: 31 August 2020 / Revised: 24 September 2020 / Accepted: 28 September 2020 / Published: 2 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Structure and Function of Synapses)
Synapses play a central role for the processing of information in the brain and have been analyzed in countless biochemical, electrophysiological, imaging, and computational studies. The functionality and plasticity of synapses are nevertheless still difficult to predict, and conflicting hypotheses have been proposed for many synaptic processes. In this review, we argue that the cause of these problems is a lack of understanding of the spatiotemporal dynamics of key synaptic components. Fortunately, a number of emerging imaging approaches, going beyond super-resolution, should be able to provide required protein positions in space at different points in time. Mathematical models can then integrate the resulting information to allow the prediction of the spatiotemporal dynamics. We argue that these models, to deal with the complexity of synaptic processes, need to be designed in a sufficiently abstract way. Taken together, we suggest that a well-designed combination of imaging and modelling approaches will result in a far more complete understanding of synaptic function than currently possible. View Full-Text
Keywords: synapse; synaptic vesicle; quantification; modeling; imaging; super-resolution; cryo-tomography synapse; synaptic vesicle; quantification; modeling; imaging; super-resolution; cryo-tomography
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MDPI and ACS Style

Reshetniak, S.; Fernández-Busnadiego, R.; Müller, M.; Rizzoli, S.O.; Tetzlaff, C. Quantitative Synaptic Biology: A Perspective on Techniques, Numbers and Expectations. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 7298. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197298

AMA Style

Reshetniak S, Fernández-Busnadiego R, Müller M, Rizzoli SO, Tetzlaff C. Quantitative Synaptic Biology: A Perspective on Techniques, Numbers and Expectations. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020; 21(19):7298. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197298

Chicago/Turabian Style

Reshetniak, Sofiia, Rubén Fernández-Busnadiego, Marcus Müller, Silvio O. Rizzoli, and Christian Tetzlaff. 2020. "Quantitative Synaptic Biology: A Perspective on Techniques, Numbers and Expectations" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 21, no. 19: 7298. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197298

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