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Neuroscience. 2005;130(4):889-95.

Modulation of available vesicles and release kinetics at the inhibitor of the crayfish neuromuscular junction.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Boston University, 5 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


We have investigated the effect of serotonin (5-HT) and okadaic acid (OA) on presynaptic processes at the crayfish inhibitory neuromuscular junction. Two different physiological parameters of transmitter release were examined: release kinetics and the size of the readily releasable pool of vesicles (RRP). Using a paired pulse stimulus and high frequency trains, we established that a single broad action potential, recorded in 20 mM tetraethylammonium and 1 mM 4-amino-pyridine, released the RRP in its entirety. Thus, by measuring the amplitude of inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSC) we were able to directly assess the effects of 5-HT and OA on the RRP. Serotonin at 200 nM and OA at 2.5 microM each significantly increased IPSC above control levels and the effects of these two modulators were comparable. Both modulators also induced a leftward shift in the rising phase of IPSC, i.e. an apparent acceleration in release kinetics. The shift caused by OA was significantly more pronounced than that induced by 5-HT. This apparent acceleration in release was not associated with a corresponding change in the presynaptic Ca2+ transient measured at a 2 kHz resolution, suggesting that modulation was not due to an acceleration in Ca2+ channel kinetics. In view of the comparable increase in the size of the RRP by the modulators, the differential modulation of release kinetics suggests that these two parameters may be modulated by separate biochemical processes.

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