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V.Nagerl, A.Panatier, M. Arizono dans Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B

Analyse super-résolutive de la synapse tripartite dans la revue: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

Le 15 septembre 2014

Dissecting tripartite synapses with STED microscopy
Aude Panatier, Misa Arizono and U. Valentin Nägerl
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 19 October 2014 vol. 369 no. 1654 20130597

The team of Prof. Valentin Nägerl at the Interdisciplinary Institute for Neuroscience has just landed a publication in the oldest scientific journal in the English-speaking world,
the venerable Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

Co-authored by Dr. Aude Panatier from the Neurocentre Magendie and Dr. Misa Arizono, a Japanese postdoc in the Nägerl team, the paper reports on the use of superresolution STED microscopy to dissect the morphological organization and physiological regulation of the tripartite synapse.

As the relevant neural structures are too small to be visualized by conventional light microscopic approaches, the superresolution microscopy approach that the researchers have developed opens up exciting experimental opportunities to investigate the dynamic interplay between pre- and postsynaptic neuronal structures and their astrocytic partners.



The concept of the tripartite synapse reflects the important role that astrocytic processes are thought to play in the function and regulation of neuronal synapses in the mammalian nervous system. However, many basic aspects regarding the dynamic interplay between pre- and postsynaptic neuronal structures and their astrocytic partners remain to be explored. A major experimental hurdle has been the small physical size of the relevant glial and synaptic structures, leaving them largely out of reach for conventional light microscopic approaches such as confocal and two-photon microscopy. Hence, most of what we know about the organization of the tripartite synapse is based on electron microscopy, which does not lend itself to investigating dynamic events and which cannot be carried out in parallel with functional assays. The development and application of superresolution microscopy for neuron–glia research is opening up exciting experimental opportunities in this regard. In this paper, we provide a basic explanation of the theory and operation of stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy, outlining the potential of this recent superresolution imaging modality for advancing our understanding of the morpho-functional interactions between astrocytes and neurons that regulate synaptic physiology.


Valentin Nagerl (valentin.nagerl @
Dernière mise à jour le 16.09.2014


This work was supported by grants from Marie Curie FP7 (PIRG08-GA-2010-276995) (A.P.), RIKEN special post-doctoral researcher fellowship (M.A.), ANR (SUPERTri, ANR-13-BSV4-0007-01), Université de Bordeaux, Labex BRAIN (U.V.N), CNRS, HFSP, ANR (CEXC) and France-BioImaging (ANR-10-INSB-04; U.V.N.).