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Activity-Induced Potentiation of Developing Neuromuscular Synapses

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Science  10 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5434, pp. 1725-1728
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5434.1725

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Abstract

Electrical activity plays a critical role in shaping the structure and function of synaptic connections in the nervous system. InXenopus nerve-muscle cultures, a brief burst of action potentials in the presynaptic neuron induced a persistent potentiation of neuromuscular synapses that exhibit immature synaptic functions. Induction of potentiation required an elevation of postsynaptic Ca2+ and expression of potentiation appeared to involve an increased probability of transmitter secretion from the presynaptic nerve terminal. Thus, activity-dependent persistent synaptic enhancement may reflect properties characteristic of immature synaptic connections, and bursting activity in developing spinal neurons may promote functional maturation of the neuromuscular synapse.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: mpoo{at}ucsd.edu

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