Unique luminal localization of VGAT-C terminus allows for selective labeling of active cortical GABAergic synapses

Henrik Martens, Matthew C. Weston, Jean Luc Boulland, Mads Grønborg, Jens Grosche, Johannes Kacza, Anke Hoffmann, Michela Matteoli, Shigeo Takamori, Tibor Harkany, Farrukh A. Chaudhry, Christian Rosenmund, Christian Erck, Reinhard Jahn, Wolfgang Härtig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neurotransmitter uptake into synaptic vesicles is mediated by vesicular neurotransmitter transporters. Although these transporters belong to different families, they all are thought to share a common overall topology with an even number of transmembrane domains. Using epitope-specific antibodies and mass spectrometry we show that the vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT) possesses an uneven number of transmembrane domains, with the N terminus facing the cytoplasm and the C terminus residing in the synaptic vesicle lumen. Antibodies recognizing the C terminus of VGAT (anti-VGAT-C) selectively label GABAergic nerve terminals of live cultured hippocampal and striatal neurons as confirmed by immunocytochemistry and patch-clamp electrophysiology. Injection of fluorochromated anti-VGAT-C into the hippocampus of mice results in specific labeling of GABAergic synapses in vivo. Overall, our data open the possibility of studying novel GABA release sites, characterizing inhibitory vesicle trafficking, and establishing their contribution to inhibitory neurotransmission at identified GABAergic synapses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13125-13131
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - Dec 3 2008


  • Endocytosis
  • Fluorescence detection
  • Live cell imaging
  • Synaptic plasticity
  • Synaptic vesicle
  • Vesicular GABA transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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