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Nat Commun. 2016 Apr 21;7:11380. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11380.

Location-dependent synaptic plasticity rules by dendritic spine cooperativity.

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Momentum Laboratory of Neuronal Signaling, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 43 Szigony Street, Budapest 1083, Hungary.


Nonlinear interactions between coactive synapses enable neurons to discriminate between spatiotemporal patterns of inputs. Using patterned postsynaptic stimulation by two-photon glutamate uncaging, here we investigate the sensitivity of synaptic Ca(2+) signalling and long-term plasticity in individual spines to coincident activity of nearby synapses. We find a proximodistally increasing gradient of nonlinear NMDA receptor (NMDAR)-mediated amplification of spine Ca(2+) signals by a few neighbouring coactive synapses along individual perisomatic dendrites. This synaptic cooperativity does not require dendritic spikes, but is correlated with dendritic Na(+) spike propagation strength. Furthermore, we show that repetitive synchronous subthreshold activation of small spine clusters produces input specific, NMDAR-dependent cooperative long-term potentiation at distal but not proximal dendritic locations. The sensitive synaptic cooperativity at distal dendritic compartments shown here may promote the formation of functional synaptic clusters, which in turn can facilitate active dendritic processing and storage of information encoded in spatiotemporal synaptic activity patterns.

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