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High-resolution light microscope reveals the fundamental mechanisms of nerve communication

ng the synapse junction, but preferentially at so-called 'active zones.' The bruchpilot protein discovered in fruit flies plays2 a decisive roll in the formation of these active zones. This is explained in the Science publication by Kittelet al. With STED imaging the scientists discovered that the bruchpilot protein is distributed in rings of ca. 150nm diameter, forming the active zones. In these areas it appears that bruchpilot establishes the proximity between the calcium channels and the vesicles enabling the efficient release of neurotransmitters.

These studies demonstrate for the first time that resolution below a half-wavelength of visible light is no longer reserved for the electron microscope when observing cells. As demonstrated by recently completed research (please see the press release from XXth of May, 2005), the resolution of STED microscopy can be further increased, in principle to reach molecular scales. The STED microscope has opened a new chapter in the story of light microscopy, one in which the fundamental questions of biological processes at the nanoscale can potentially be answered with focused light.


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Source:Max-Planck-Gesellschaft


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