#IDIBELLseminars: The making of synaptic ribbons: how they are built and what they do

Frank Schmitz

Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology; Saarland University



Sala de Graus (UB)


Ribbon synapses in the retina and inner ear are continuously active synapses that maintain high rates of neurotransmitter release to signal a broad bandwith of stimulus intensities and stimulus informations. The high release rates require structural and functional specializations. Synaptic ribbons are presynaptic specializations that define eponymous ribbon synapses. They are associated with the presynaptic active zone and deliver synaptic vesicles to the active zone to promote continuous synaptic transmission. Synaptic ribbons are largely composed of RIBEYE, a protein containing an N-terminal A-domain and a carboxyterminal B-domain that is identical with CtBP2, a NAD(H)-binding transcriptional co-repressor. Both RIBEYE A-domain and B-domain have important roles in the assembly of synaptic ribbons. Current data on the synaptic ribbon complex and its importance for synaptic transmission under normal and disease conditions will be discussed.

Hosted by Ana Mendez – Cellular and molecular basis of sensory disorders


Study of Human Medicine in Marburg, Germany; PostDoc at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA; Research Associate at Würzburg University (1991-1996); Research Associate with Thomas C. Südhof at the Max-Planck-Institute for Experimental Medicine in Göttingen, Germany, and at the Center for Basic Neuroscience in Dallas, Texas, USA (1996-1999); Research Associate with Eckart D. Gundelfinger at the Leibniz-Institute for Neurobiology in Magdeburg, Germany (1999-2001); Assistant Professor at Leipzig University (2001-2003), Associate Professor at Saarland University (2003-2008); since 2008: Full Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Saarland University.

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