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Nature. 1998 Sep 3;395(6697):37-44.

A critical window for cooperation and competition among developing retinotectal synapses.

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Department of Biology, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0357, USA.


In the developing frog visual system, topographic refinement of the retinotectal projection depends on electrical activity. In vivo whole-cell recording from developing Xenopus tectal neurons shows that convergent retinotectal synapses undergo activity-dependent cooperation and competition following correlated pre- and postsynaptic spiking within a narrow time window. Synaptic inputs activated repetitively within 20 ms before spiking of the tectal neuron become potentiated, whereas subthreshold inputs activated within 20 ms after spiking become depressed. Thus both the initial synaptic strength and the temporal order of activation are critical for heterosynaptic interactions among convergent synaptic inputs during activity-dependent refinement of developing neural networks.

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