Synaptic vesicle endocytosis: The races, places, and molecular faces

Jennifer R. Morgan, George J. Augustine, Eileen M. Lafer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The classical experiments on synaptic vesicle recycling in the 1970s by Heuser and Reese, Ceccarelli, and their colleagues raised opposing theories regarding the speed, mechanisms, and locations of membrane retrieval at the synapse. The Heuser and Reese experiments supported a model in which synaptic vesicle recycling is mediated by the formation of coated vesicles, is relatively slow, and occurs distally from active zones, the sites of neurotransmitter release. Because heavy levels of stimulation were needed to visualize the coated vesicles, Ceccarelli's experiments argued that synaptic vesicle recycling does not require the formation of coated vesicles, is relatively fast, and occurs directly at the active zone in a "kiss-and-run" reversal of exocytosis under more physiological conditions. For the next thirty years, these models have provided the foundation for studies of the rates, locations, and molecular elements involved in synaptic vesicle endocytosis. Here, we describe the evidence supporting each model and argue that the coated vesicle pathway is the most predominant physiological mechanism for recycling synaptic vesicles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-114
Number of pages14
JournalNeuroMolecular Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Clathrin
  • Membrane recycling
  • Synaptic vesicle trafficking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Molecular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Synaptic vesicle endocytosis: The races, places, and molecular faces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this