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Journal Article

Competition for synaptic building blocks shapes synaptic plasticity


Hafner,  Anne-Sophie
Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Max Planck Society;

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Triesch, J., Vo, A. D., & Hafner, A.-S. (2018). Competition for synaptic building blocks shapes synaptic plasticity. eLife. doi:10.7554/eLife.37836.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-742A-D
Changes in the efficadies of synapses are thought to be the neurobiological basis of learning and memory. The efficacy of a synapse depends on its current number of neurotransmitter receptors. Recent experiments have shown that these receptors are highly dynamic, moving back and forth between synapses on time scales of seconds and minutes. This suggests spontaneous fluctuations in synaptic efficacies and a competiton of neraby synapses for available receptors. Here we propose a mathematical model of this competition of synapses for neurotransmitter receptors from a local dendritic pool. Using minimal assumptions, the model produces a fast multiplicative scaling behavior of synapses. Furthermore, the model explains a transient form of heterosynaptic plasticity and predicts that its amount is inversely related to the size of the local receptor pool. Overall, our models reveals logistical tradeoffs during the induction of synaptic plasticity due to the rapid exchange of neurotransmitter receptors between synapses.