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Science. 1996 Oct 25;274(5287):594-7.

Presynaptic calcium current modulation by a metabotropic glutamate receptor.

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Department of Neurophysiology, Institute for Brain Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113, Japan.


Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) regulate transmitter release at mammalian central synapses. However, because of the difficulty of recording from mammalian presynaptic terminals, the mechanism underlying mGluR-mediated presynaptic inhibition is not known. Here, simultaneous recordings from a giant presynaptic terminal, the calyx of Held, and its postsynaptic target in the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body were obtained in rat brainstem slices. Agonists of mGluRs suppressed a high voltage-activated P/Q-type calcium conductance in the presynaptic terminal, thereby inhibiting transmitter release at this glutamatergic synapse. Because several forms of presynaptic modulation and plasticity are mediated by mGluRs, this identification of a target ion channel is a first step toward elucidation of their molecular mechanism.

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