Presynaptic Calcium Current Modulation by a Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor

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Science  25 Oct 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5287, pp. 594-597
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5287.594


Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) regulate transmitter release at mammalian central synapses. However, because of the difficulty of recording from mammalian presynaptic terminals, the mechanism underlying mGluR-mediated presynaptic inhibition is not known. Here, simultaneous recordings from a giant presynaptic terminal, the calyx of Held, and its postsynaptic target in the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body were obtained in rat brainstem slices. Agonists of mGluRs suppressed a high voltage-activated P/Q-type calcium conductance in the presynaptic terminal, thereby inhibiting transmitter release at this glutamatergic synapse. Because several forms of presynaptic modulation and plasticity are mediated by mGluRs, this identification of a target ion channel is a first step toward elucidation of their molecular mechanism.

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