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Short-term plasticity constrains spatial organization of a hippocampal presynaptic terminal
Suhita Nadkarni, Thomas M. Bartol, Charles F. Stevens, Terrence J. Sejnowski and Herbert Levine
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 109, No. 36 (September 4, 2012), pp. 14657-14662
Published by: National Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41706263
Page Count: 6
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Although the CA3-CA1 synapse is critically important for learning and memory, experimental limitations have to date prevented direct determination of the structural features that determine the response plasticity. Specifically, the local calcium influx responsible for vesicular release and short-term synaptic facilitation strongly depends on the distance between the voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCCs) and the presynaptic active zone. Estimates for this distance range over two orders of magnitude. Here, we use a biophysically detailed computational model of the presynaptic bouton and demonstrate that available experimental data provide sufficient constraints to uniquely reconstruct the presynaptic architecture. We predict that for a typical CA3-CA1 synapse, there are ~70 VDCCs located 300 nm from the active zone. This result is surprising, because structural studies on other synapses in the hippocampus report much tighter spatial coupling. We demonstrate that the unusual structure of this synapse reflects its functional role in short-term plasticity (STP).
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America © 2012 National Academy of Sciences