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J Neurophysiol. 2000 Jan;83(1):552-62.

Presynaptic Ca(2+) influx at the inhibitor of the crayfish neuromuscular junction: a photometric study at a high time resolution.

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1
Department of Biology, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.

Abstract

Presynaptic calcium influx at the inhibitor of the crayfish neuromuscular junction was investigated by measuring fluorescence transients generated by calcium-sensitive dyes. This approach allowed us to correlate presynaptic calcium influx with transmitter release at a high time resolution. Systematic testing of the calcium indicators showed that only low-affinity dyes, with affinities in the range of micromolar, should be used to avoid saturation of dye binding and interference with transmitter release. Presynaptic calcium influx was regulated by slowly increasing the duration of the action potential through progressive block of potassium channels. The amplitude of the calcium transient, measured from a cluster of varicosities, was linearly related to the duration of the action potential with a slope of 1.2. Gradual changes in potassium channel block allowed us to estimate the calcium cooperativity of transmitter release over a 10-fold range in presynaptic calcium influx. Calcium cooperativity measured here exhibited one component with an average value of 3.1. Inspection of simultaneously recorded presynaptic calcium transients and inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) showed that prolonged action potentials were associated with a slow rising phase of presynaptic calcium transients, which were matched by a slow rate of rise of IPSCs. The close correlation suggests that fluorescence transients provide information on the rate of calcium influx. Because there is an anatomic mismatch between the presynaptic calcium transient, measured from a cluster of varicosities, and IPSC, measured with two-electrode voltage clamp, macropatch recording was used to monitor inhibitory postsynaptic responses from the same cluster of varicosities from which the calcium transient was measured. Inhibitory postsynaptic responses recorded with the macropatch method exhibited a faster rising phase than that recorded with two-electrode voltage clamp. This difference could be attributed to slight asynchrony of transmitter release due to action potential conduction along fine branches. In conclusion, this report shows that fluorescence transients generated by calcium-sensitive dyes can provide insights to the properties of presynaptic calcium influx, and its correlation with transmitter release, at a high time resolution.

PMID:
10634895
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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