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Keywords:

  • adaptors;
  • clathrin;
  • endocytosis;
  • pHluorin;
  • synaptic vesicle

It has long been known that the maintenance of fast communication between neurons requires that presynaptic terminals recycle the small vesicles from which neurotransmitter is released. But the mechanisms that retrieve vesicles from the cell surface are still not understood. Although we have a wealth of information about the molecular details of endocytosis in non-neuronal cells, it is clear that endocytosis at the synapse is faster and regulated in distinct ways. A satisfying understanding of these processes will require molecular events to be manipulated while observing endocytosis in living synapses. Here, we review recent work that seeks to bridge the gap between physiology and molecules to unravel the endocytic machinery operating at the synaptic terminal.