REU: Presynaptic Direct Structure Function Analysis

Grants and Contracts Details


Chemical synaptic transmission occurs by the release of transmitter in "packets" from the presynaptic nerve terminal which then gives rise to postsynaptic alterations in a current that may produce a synaptic potential depending on the electrochemical driving gradients of the ions. The synaptic potentials are incremental in relation to the numbers of packets of transmitter released (del Castillo and Katz, 1954). This is referred to as the "quantal hypothesis" as proposed by del Castillo and Katz (1954). This is generally accepted as when a packet of neurotransmitter within a clear core vesicle is released from the presynaptic nerve terminal into the synaptic cleft. The transmitter will produce a quantal postsynaptic current that can also be measured as a quantal potential. There is some variation to quantal events that can may arise due to presynaptic as well as postsynaptic factors. Here we will examine if there is a realtion to the anatomic differences of the presynaptic terminal in realtion to synaptic efficacy. This student will address if there is a good correlation between synaptic structure and physiologicaly, based on number and spacing of active zones within defined recorded regions of the terminal and is there a relationship of vesicle populations of synapses with different spacing between AZ?s. Determination requires being able to serially reconstruct from numerous electron micrographs the number of active zones and synapses that are present in the nerve terminal from where the quantal measurements were taken.
Effective start/end date5/3/047/31/05


  • National Science Foundation


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