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Cell Calcium. 2006 Nov-Dec;40(5-6):423-39. Epub 2006 Oct 25.

Calcium microdomains in regulated exocytosis.

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Molecular and Cellular Biophysics of Synaptic Transmission, INSERM, U603, Paris, France.


Katz and co-workers showed that Ca(2+) triggers exocytosis. The existence of sub-micrometer domains of greater than 100 microM [Ca(2+)](i) was postulated on theoretical grounds. Using a modified, low-affinity aequorin, Llinas et al. were the first to demonstrate the existence of Ca(2+) 'microdomains' in squid presynaptic terminals. Over the past several years, it has become clear that individual Ca(2+) nano- and microdomains forming around the mouth of voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels ascertain the tight coupling of fast synaptic vesicle release to membrane depolarization by action potentials. Recent work has established different geometric arrangements of vesicles and Ca(2+) channels at different central synapses and pointed out the role of Ca(2+) syntillas - localized, store operated Ca(2+) signals - in facilitation and spontaneous release. The coupling between Ca(2+) increase and evoked exocytosis is more sluggish in peripheral terminals and neuroendocrine cells, where channels are less clustered and Ca(2+) comes from different sources, including Ca(2+) influx via the plasma membrane and the mobilization of Ca(2+) from intracellular stores. Finally, also non- (electrically) excitable cells display highly localized Ca(2+) signaling domains. We discuss in particular the organization of structural microdomains of Bergmann glia, specialized astrocytes of the cerebellum that have only recently been considered as secretory cells. Glial microdomains are the spatial substrate for functionally segregated Ca(2+) signals upon metabotropic activation. Our review emphasizes the large diversity of different geometric arrangements of vesicles and Ca(2+) sources, leading to a wide spectrum of Ca(2+) signals triggering release.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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