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Keywords:

  • fluorescence microscopy;
  • STED;
  • localization;
  • striatal neurons

Abstract

Protein localization in dendritic spines is the focus of intense investigations within neuroscience. Applications of super-resolution microscopy to dissect nanoscale protein distributions, as shown in this work with dual-color STED, generate spatial correlation coefficients having quite small values. This means that colocalization analysis to some extent looses part of its correlative impact. In this study we thus introduced nearest neighbor analysis to quantify the spatial relations between two important proteins in neurons, the dopamine D1 receptor and Na+,K+-ATPase. The analysis gave new information on how dense the D1 receptor and Na+,K+-ATPase constituting nanoclusters are located both with respect to the homogenous (self to same) and the heterogeneous (same to other) topology. The STED dissected nanoscale topologies provide evidence for both a joint as well as a separated confinement of the D1 receptor and the Na+,K+-ATPase in the postsynaptic areas of dendritic spines. This confined topology may have implications for generation of local sodium gradients and for structural and functional interactions modulating slow synaptic transmission processes. Microsc. Res. Tech., 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc