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PLoS Comput Biol. 2016 May 27;12(5):e1004949. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004949. eCollection 2016 May.

Control of Ca2+ Influx and Calmodulin Activation by SK-Channels in Dendritic Spines.

Author information

1
Department of Engineering Mathematics, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.
2
Bristol Centre for Complexity Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.
3
Department of Mathematics, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom.
4
EPSRC Centre for Predictive Modelling in Healthcare, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom.
5
Centre for Synaptic Plasticity, School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.

Abstract

The key trigger for Hebbian synaptic plasticity is influx of Ca2+ into postsynaptic dendritic spines. The magnitude of [Ca2+] increase caused by NMDA-receptor (NMDAR) and voltage-gated Ca2+ -channel (VGCC) activation is thought to determine both the amplitude and direction of synaptic plasticity by differential activation of Ca2+ -sensitive enzymes such as calmodulin. Ca2+ influx is negatively regulated by Ca2+ -activated K+ channels (SK-channels) which are in turn inhibited by neuromodulators such as acetylcholine. However, the precise mechanisms by which SK-channels control the induction of synaptic plasticity remain unclear. Using a 3-dimensional model of Ca2+ and calmodulin dynamics within an idealised, but biophysically-plausible, dendritic spine, we show that SK-channels regulate calmodulin activation specifically during neuron-firing patterns associated with induction of spike timing-dependent plasticity. SK-channel activation and the subsequent reduction in Ca2+ influx through NMDARs and L-type VGCCs results in an order of magnitude decrease in calmodulin (CaM) activation, providing a mechanism for the effective gating of synaptic plasticity induction. This provides a common mechanism for the regulation of synaptic plasticity by neuromodulators.

PMID:
27232631
PMCID:
PMC4883788
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004949
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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