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Cellular Neurophysiology

Dorsal root ganglion neurons

DRG neurons are sensory neurons that have an important function in nociception and chronic pain. They transmit information from the periphery to the central nervous system via synaptic transmission, which can be modulated by the concomitant release of neuroactive peptides. Our aim is to understand how both types of release are regulated independently (Fig. 1).

 We showed that the priming factors CAPS1 and  2 play a major role in the differential regulation of synaptic transmission and neuropeptide release. CAPS1, is expressed in all DRG neurons where it accumulates in pre-synaptic boutons (Fig. 2 & 3) and regulates specifically synaptic transmission (Fig. 4). In contrast, CAPS2 is exclusively expressed in the peptidergic sub-population of DRG neurons where it promotes the release of neuropeptides. It has a diffuse localization in the cell soma and neurites. This distinct localization of CAPS paralogs is due to a unique N-terminal amino acid sequence in CAPS1. We are currently investigating the function of CAPS2 in DRG neurons in more detail.


Figure 1: differential regulation of SV and LDCV secretion by CAPS1 and 2 Adapted from doi: 10.3389/fncel.2018.00304.

Figure 2: Confocal imaging reveals CAPS1 strong accumulation at synapses



Figure 3: anatomie of a synapse revealed by STED microscopy. Labelled are the active zone protein bassoon and CAPS1 in A or Munc13-1 in B


 Figure 4: Live measurement of synaptic activity measured by the SypHy technology




provisional management:

Prof. Dr. Dieter Bruns


Bernadette Schwarz

  +49 6841/16-16400
  +49 6841/16-16402

Cellular Neurophysiology
Saarland University
CIPMM | Building 48
D-66421 Homburg