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  • Botulinum Neurotoxin Type-A Enters a Non-Recycling Pool of Synaptic Vesicles

    Neuronal communication relies on synaptic vesicles undergoing regulated exocytosis and recycling for multiple rounds of fusion. Whether all synaptic vesicles have identical protein content has been challenged, suggesting that their recycling ability may differ greatly. Botulinum neurotoxin type-A (BoNT/A) is a highly potent neurotoxin that is internalized in synaptic vesicles at motor nerve terminals and induces flaccid paralysis. Recently, BoNT/A was also shown to undergo retrograde transport, suggesting it might enter a specific pool of synaptic vesicles with a retrograde trafficking fate. Using high-resolution microscopy techniques including electron microscopy and single molecule imaging, we found that the BoNT/A binding domain is internalized within a subset of vesicles that only partially co-localize with cholera toxin B-subunit and have markedly reduced VAMP2 immunoreactivity.
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  • Co-Orientation: Quantifying Simultaneous Co-Localization and Orientational Alignment of Filaments in Light Microscopy

    Co-localization analysis is a widely used tool to seek evidence for functional interactions between molecules in different color channels in microscopic images. Here we extend the basic co-localization analysis by including the orientations of the structures on which the molecules reside. We refer to the combination of co-localization of molecules and orientational alignment of the structures on which they reside as co-orientation. Because the orientation varies with the length scale at which it is evaluated, we consider this scale as a separate informative dimension in the analysis. Additionally we introduce a data driven method for testing the statistical significance of the co-orientation and provide a method for visualizing the local co-orientation strength in images. We demonstrate our methods on simulated localization microscopy data of filamentous structures, as well as experimental images of similar structures acquired with localization microscopy in different color channels.
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