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J Physiol. 1967 Nov;193(2):419-32.

Co-operative action a calcium ions in transmitter release at the neuromuscular junction.


1. The quantitative dependence of transmitter release on external calcium concentration has been studied at the frog neuromuscular junction, using intracellular recording and taking the amplitude of the end-plate potential (e.p.p.) as an index of the number of packets released.2. The relation between [Ca] and the e.p.p. is highly non-linear. The initial part of this relation on double logarithmic co-ordinates gives a straight line with a slope of nearly four (mean 3.78 +/- 0.2 S.D. in 28 experiments). Addition of a constant amount of Mg reduces the e.p.p. without altering the slope of the log e.p.p./log Ca relation.3. The slope of this logarithmic relation diminishes as [Ca] is raised towards the normal level.4. The results are explained quantitatively on the hypothesis that Ca ions combine with a specific site X on the nerve terminal forming CaX, and that the number of packets of acetylcholine released is proportional to the fourth power of [CaX].5. The analysis suggests that a co-operative action of about four calcium ions is necessary for the release of each quantal packet of transmitter by the nerve impulse.

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