• dynamin;
  • presynaptic proteins;
  • SV2;
  • synaptotagmin;
  • visual pathway synapses


The role of amphiphysin in clathrin-mediated endocytosis of synaptic vesicles is well established. However, it is still uncertain if the protein is also involved in developmental mechanisms, e.g. axon outgrowth and synapse formation. To investigate the developmental changes in the expression of amphiphysin we used the retinotectal system of the chick, a highly ordered and easily accessible primary neuronal pathway. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of total RNA from chick retina and tectum revealed first transcripts for amphiphysin, dynamin and synaptotagmin at embryonic day 5 (E5) for both regions. Surprisingly, Western blots of the retina revealed an increase of protein expression for amphiphysin only after E11 in the retina and the tectum. Immunofluorescence for amphiphysin was not detectable before E10 in the developing chick retina, while other presynaptic proteins like synaptotagmin showed already intense signals in the inner and outer plexiform layers. Subsequently, amphiphysin immunoreactivity follows the expression of synaptotagmin and synaptic vesicle protein 2 (SV2) as seen in the retina and the tectum, and exhibits the same staining as the other proteins in the mature chick brain. Ultrastructural data revealed for the first time that amphiphysin is not only limited to conventional synapses but is also abundant in retinal ribbon terminals. Taken together our data reveal that: (i) there is a developmental delay between mRNA transcription and protein expression for key proteins involved in endocytosis; (ii) amphiphysin gets upregulated after synapse formation; and (iii) amphiphysin is present in the synaptic vesicle cycle in retinal ribbon synapses.