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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19487

Title: The Influence of Release Modality on Synaptic Transmission at a Developing Central Synapse
Authors: Fedchyshyn, Michael John
Advisor: Wang, Lu-Yang
Department: Physiology
Keywords: Calyx of Held
Synaptic Transmission
Calcium Channels
Synaptic Plasticity
Synaptic Delay
Release Modality
Vesicle Release
Issue Date: 22-Mar-2010
Abstract: The auditory brainstem is comprised of a number of synapses specialized for the transmission of high-fidelity synaptic signals. Within the first three postnatal weeks, these pathways acquire the ability to process high-frequency signals without compromising timing information. However, little is known regarding developmental adaptations which confer this ability. Situated in the sound localization pathway, the calyx of Held-medial nucleus of the trapezoid body synapse provides an ideal model for investigating such adaptations as both the pre- and postsynaptic neurons are accessible to electrophysiological experimentation. Using this synapse, we have shown herein that the spatial coupling between voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) and synaptic vesicles (SVs) tightens during development. Immature synapses use a loosely-coupled arrangement of many N- and P/Q-type VGCCs (“microdomain” modality) while mature synapses use a tightly-coupled arrangement of fewer P/Q-type VGCCs, to release SVs (“nanodomain” modality). As a consequence of this tightening, synaptic delay (SD) shortens. By fluorescence- and electron microscopy of SVs near active zones, we further identified the filamentous protein septin 5 as a molecular substrate, differentiating the two release modalities, which may act as a spatial barrier separating VGCCs and SVs in immature synapses. Finally, we have demonstrated that changes in release modality affect the nature of short-term plasticity observed at this synapse. Using trains of action potentials as presynaptic voltage-commands, we showed that, downstream of calcium influx, the microdomain modality promotes short-term facilitation in excitatory postsynaptic currents (IEPSC), and calcium-dependent decreases in SD, with these being absent in synapses employing the nanodomain modality. In contrast, we found that as a result of depletion of SVs, short-term depression of IEPSC dominates in synapses using the nanodomain modality, and correlates with calcium-dependent increases in SD. These findings imply that the type of release modality has a significant impact on the strength and timing of synaptic responses. The microdomain modality imparts greater dynamic range in timing and strength, but does so at the cost of efficiency and fidelity, while the nanodomain modality is a key accomplishment consolidating the high-fidelity abilities of this synapse.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19487
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Physiology - Doctoral theses

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