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Journal Article

Some subtle lessons from the calyx of Held synapse.


Neher,  E.
Emeritus Group of Membrane Biophysics, MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Neher, E. (2017). Some subtle lessons from the calyx of Held synapse. Biophysical Journal, 112(2), 215-223. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2016.12.017.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-8E24-8
The calyx of Held is a giant nerve terminal that forms a glutamatergic synapse in the auditory pathway. Due to its large size, it offers a number of advantages for biophysical studies, including voltage-clamp of both pre- and postsynaptic compartments and the loading with indicator dyes and caged compounds. Three aspects of recent findings on the calyx are reviewed here, each of which seems to have only subtle consequences for nerve-evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents: vesicle heterogeneity, refractoriness of release sites, and superpriming. Together, they determine short-term plasticity features that are superficially similar to those expected for a simple vesicle pool model. However, detailed consideration of these aspects may be required for the correct mechanistic interpretation of data from synapses with normal and perturbed function, as well as for modeling the dynamics of short-term plasticity.