Calcium Sensitivity of Glutamate Release in a Calyx-Type Terminal

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Science  11 Aug 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5481, pp. 953-957
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5481.953

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Synaptic efficacy critically depends on the presynaptic intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i). We measured the calcium sensitivity of glutamate release in a rat auditory brainstem synapse by laser photolysis of caged calcium. A rise in [Ca2+]i to 1 micromolar readily evoked release. An increase to >30 micromolar depleted the releasable vesicle pool in <0.5 millisecond. A comparison with action potential–evoked release suggested that a brief increase of [Ca2+]i to ∼10 micromolar would be sufficient to reproduce the physiological release pattern. Thus, the calcium sensitivity of release at this synapse is high, and the distinction between phasic and delayed release is less pronounced than previously thought.

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