Ca2+ sensor synaptotagmin-1 mediates exocytosis in mammalian photoreceptors

Justin J. Grassmeyer, Asia L. Cahill, Cassandra L. Hays, Cody Barta, Rolen M. Quadros, Channabasavaiah B. Gurumurthy, Wallace B. Thoreson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


To encode light-dependent changes in membrane potential, rod and cone photoreceptors utilize synaptic ribbons to sustain continuous exocytosis while making rapid, fine adjustments to release rate. Release kinetics are shaped by vesicle delivery down ribbons and by properties of exocytotic Ca2+ sensors. We tested the role for synaptotagmin-1 (Syt1) in photoreceptor exocytosis by using novel mouse lines in which Syt1 was conditionally removed from rods or cones. Photoreceptors lacking Syt1 exhibited marked reductions in exocytosis as measured by electroretinography and single-cell recordings. Syt1 mediated all evoked release in cones, whereas rods appeared capable of some slow Syt1-independent release. Spontaneous release frequency was unchanged in cones but increased in rods lacking Syt1. Loss of Syt1 did not alter synaptic anatomy or reduce Ca2+ currents. These results suggest that Syt1 mediates both phasic and tonic release at photoreceptor synapses, revealing unexpected flexibility in the ability of Syt1 to regulate Ca2+-dependent synaptic transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere45946
StatePublished - Jun 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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