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Neuron. 2013 Sep 18;79(6):1067-77. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.07.012.

Nanoscale-targeted patch-clamp recordings of functional presynaptic ion channels.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, W12 0NN, UK; School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary, University of London, London E1 4NS, UK. Electronic address:


Direct electrical access to presynaptic ion channels has hitherto been limited to large specialized terminals such as the calyx of Held or hippocampal mossy fiber bouton. The electrophysiology and ion-channel complement of far more abundant small synaptic terminals (≤ 1 μm) remain poorly understood. Here we report a method based on superresolution scanning ion conductance imaging of small synapses in culture at approximately 100-150 nm 3D resolution, which allows presynaptic patch-clamp recordings in all four configurations (cell-attached, inside-out, outside-out, and whole-cell). Using this technique, we report presynaptic recordings of K(+), Na(+), Cl(-), and Ca(2+) channels. This semiautomated approach allows direct investigation of the distribution and properties of presynaptic ion channels at small central synapses.

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