Functional mapping of brain synapses by the enriching activity-marker SynaptoZip

M Ferro, J Lamanna, M Ripamonti, G Racchetti, Alessandro Arena, S Spadini, G Montesano, Riccardo Cortese, V Zimarino, A Malgaroli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ideally, elucidating the role of specific brain circuits in animal behavior would require the ability to measure activity at all involved synapses, possibly with unrestricted field of view, thus even at those boutons deeply located into the brain. Here, we introduce and validate an efficient scheme reporting synaptic vesicle cycling in vivo. This is based on SynaptoZip, a genetically encoded molecule deploying in the vesicular lumen a bait moiety designed to capture upon exocytosis a labeled alien peptide, Synbond. The resulting signal is cumulative and stores the number of cycling events occurring at individual synapses. Since this functional signal is enduring and measurable both online and ex post, SynaptoZip provides a unique method for the analysis of the history of synaptic activity in regions several millimeters below the brain surface. We show its broad applicability by reporting stimulus-evoked and spontaneous circuit activity in wide cortical fields, in anesthetized and freely moving animals. © 2017 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Article number1229
JournalNature Communications
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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