The probability of transmitter release at a mammalian central synapse

Hessler, Neal A., Shirke, Aneil M., Malinow, Roberto (December 1993) The probability of transmitter release at a mammalian central synapse. Nature, 366 (6455). pp. 569-72. ISSN 0028-0836

DOI: 10.1038/366569a0


When an action potential reaches a synaptic terminal, fusion of a transmitter-containing vesicle with the presynaptic membrane occurs with a probability (pr) of less than one. Despite the fundamental importance of this parameter, pr has not been directly measured in the central nervous system. Here we describe a novel approach to determine pr, monitoring the decrement of NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate)-receptor mediated synaptic currents in the presence of the use-dependent channel blocker MK-801 (ref. 2). On a single postsynaptic CA1 hippocampal slice neuron, two classes of synapses with a sixfold difference in pr are resolved. Synapses with low pr contribute to over half of transmission and are more sensitive to drugs enhancing transmitter release. Switching between these two classes of synapses provides the potential for large changes in synaptic efficacy and could underlie forms of activity-dependent plasticity.

Item Type: Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: Animals Dizocilpine Maleate/*pharmacology Electric Stimulation Evoked Potentials/drug effects Hippocampus/physiology Kinetics Mathematics Models, Neurological Neurons/drug effects/*physiology Neurotransmitter Agents/*metabolism/secretion Probability Pyramidal Tracts/physiology Rats Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate/drug effects/*physiology Synapses/*physiology
Subjects: organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > sub-cellular tissues: types and functions > synapse
organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > cell types and functions > cell functions > synaptic transmission
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Malinow lab
Depositing User: Matt Covey
Date: 9 December 1993
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2016 20:38
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2016 20:38
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