The number of glutamate receptors opened by synaptic stimulation in single hippocampal spines

Nimchinsky, E. A., Yasuda, R., Oertner, T. G., Svoboda, K. (February 2004) The number of glutamate receptors opened by synaptic stimulation in single hippocampal spines. J Neurosci, 24 (8). pp. 2054-64. ISSN 1529-2401 (Electronic)

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DOI: 10.1523/jneurosci.5066-03.2004


The number of receptors opening after glutamate release is critical for understanding the sources of noise and the dynamic range of synaptic transmission. We imaged [Ca2+] transients mediated by synaptically activated NMDA receptors (NMDA-Rs) in individual spines in rat brain slices. We show that Ca2+ influx through single NMDA-Rs can be reliably detected, allowing us to estimate the number of receptors opening after synaptic transmission. This number is small: at the peak of the synaptic response, less than one NMDA-R is open, on average. Therefore, stochastic interactions between transmitter and receptor contribute substantially to synaptic noise, and glutamate occupies a small fraction of receptors. The number of receptors opening did not scale with spine volume, and smaller spines experience larger [Ca2+] transients during synaptic transmission. Our measurements further demonstrate that optical recordings can be used to study single receptors in intact systems.

Item Type: Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: Animals Calcium metabolism Calcium Signaling physiology Dendrites metabolism Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials physiology Fluorescent Dyes Glutamic Acid metabolism Hippocampus cytology metabolism physiology Microscopy Confocal Models Neurological Rats Rats Wistar Receptors AMPA analysis metabolism Receptors, Glutamate analysis metabolism Receptors N-Methyl-D-Aspartate analysis metabolism Sensitivity and Specificity Synapses metabolism Synaptic Transmission physiology
Subjects: bioinformatics > genomics and proteomics > genetics & nucleic acid processing > DNA, RNA structure, function, modification > Chromatin dynamics
CSHL Authors:
Depositing User: CSHL Librarian
Date: 25 February 2004
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2012 16:10
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2012 16:10

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