JournalNeural Excitability, Synapses, and Glia

Synaptotagmin 2 Is the Fast Ca2+ Sensor at a Central Inhibitory Synapse

Synaptotagmin is identified as the calcium sensor in fast synapses. (c) IST Austria
  • Syt2 is the Ca2+ sensor of fast transmitter release at a cerebellar GABAergic synapse
  • Syt2 triggers transmitter release with faster time course than Syt1
  • Syt2 ensures faster replenishment of the readily releasable pool than Syt1
  • Syt2 is essential for fast feedforward inhibition in cerebellar microcircuits


GABAergic synapses in brain circuits generate inhibitory output signals with submillisecond latency and temporal precision. Whether the molecular identity of the release sensor contributes to these signaling properties remains unclear. Here, we examined the Ca2+ sensor of exocytosis at GABAergic basket cell (BC) to Purkinje cell (PC) synapses in cerebellum. Immunolabeling suggested that BC terminals selectively expressed synaptotagmin 2 (Syt2), whereas synaptotagmin 1 (Syt1) was enriched in excitatory terminals. Genetic elimination of Syt2 reduced action potential-evoked release to ∼10%, identifying Syt2 as the major Ca2+ sensor at BC-PC synapses. Differential adenovirus-mediated rescue revealed that Syt2 triggered release with shorter latency and higher temporal precision and mediated faster vesicle pool replenishment than Syt1. Furthermore, deletion of Syt2 severely reduced and delayed disynaptic inhibition following parallel fiber stimulation. Thus, the selective use of Syt2 as release sensor at BC-PC synapses ensures fast and efficient feedforward inhibition in cerebellar microcircuits.

Chen, C., Arai, I., Satterfield, R., Jr, S.M.Y., and Jonas, P. (2017). Synaptotagmin 2 Is the Fast Ca2+ Sensor at a Central Inhibitory Synapse. Cell Reports 18, 723–736.