Screening Morphological Characteristics of Large Populations of Synaptic Vesicle Clouds and Active Zones from 3D EM Data

May 22, 2023

Connon I Thomas (1), Jordan R Anderson (1), McLean Bolton (1), Naomi Kamasawa (1)
Microscopy and Microanalysis. Volume 29, Issue 1, Pages 1084–1085 (22 July 2023). DOI:


Synapses are the primary sites of communication between neurons in the brain. The presynaptic compartment holds synaptic vesicles containing neurotransmitter—a subset of these vesicles are primed, docked, and fused to the membrane at the synaptic active zone (AZ) upon arrival of an action potential. Synaptic vesicle number and AZ area are positively correlated and both are considered correlates of synaptic strength [1]; however, this relationship may be changed in disease models, across development, or following genetic perturbation, where the molecular machinery that controls synapse structure is modified or disrupted.

How Our Software Was Used

Dragonfly was used for Deep Learning segmentation, AZ-VC pairing by center-of-mass (CoM) nearest neighbor distances, and high-throughput morphological analyses.

Author Affiliation

(1) Electron Microscopy Core Facility, Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, Jupiter, FLUnited States