A small number of open Ca2+ channels trigger transmitter release at a central GABAergic synapse

Abstract

To determine the number of open Ca2+ channels necessary for transmitter release at the inhibitory basket cell–granule cell synapse in rat hippocampus, we combined presynaptic Ca2+ imaging, recording of postsynaptic currents and modeling. We found that that the opening of three or fewer Ca2+ channels triggered transmitter release. Furthermore, a small number of Ca2+ channels were able to evoke release with high temporal precision, despite stochastic Ca2+ channel opening.

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Figure 1: Different forms of manipulation of presynaptic Ca2+ inflow lead to IPSC-[Ca2+]i relations with different power coefficients.
Figure 2: A small number of open Ca2+ channels trigger precisely timed transmitter release at the basket cell–granule cell synapse.

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Acknowledgements

We thank J. Behrends and E. Eggermann for critically reading the manuscript and S. Becherer, I. Koeva, M. Northemann, U. Thirimanna and K. Winterhalter for technical assistance. This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Sonderforschungsbereich 780/A5, TR 3/B10, and Leibniz program).

Author information

I.B. performed experiments and analyzed data. J.B. contributed to initial Ca2+ imaging experiments. P.J. performed modeling and wrote the paper.

Correspondence to Peter Jonas.

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Supplementary Methods and Supplementary Figures 1 and 2 (PDF 184 kb)

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Bucurenciu, I., Bischofberger, J. & Jonas, P. A small number of open Ca2+ channels trigger transmitter release at a central GABAergic synapse. Nat Neurosci 13, 19–21 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2461

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