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BMC Neuroscience

, 14:P321 | Cite as

Long-term potentiation through calcium-mediated N-Cadherin interaction is tightly controlled by the three-dimensional architecture of the synapse

  • S Grein
  • S Bunse
  • E Schuman
  • G Queisser
Open Access
Poster presentation
  • 964 Downloads

Keywords

Synaptic Cleft Postsynaptic Membrane Synaptic Strength Potential Firing Action Potential Firing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

The synaptic cleft is an extracellular domain that is capable of relaying a presynaptically received electrical signal by diffusive neurotransmitters to the postsynaptic membrane. The cleft is trans-synaptically bridged by ring-like shaped clusters of pre- and postsynaptically localized calcium-dependent adhesion proteins of the N-Cadherin type and is possibly the smallest intercircuit in nervous systems [1]. The strength of association between the pre- and postsynaptic membranes can account for synaptic plasticity such as long-term potentiation [2]. Through neuronal activity the intra- and extracellular calcium levels are modulated through calcium exchangers embedded in the pre- and postsynaptic membrane. Variations of the concentration of cleft calcium induces changes in the N-Cadherin-zipper, that in synaptic resting states is rigid and tightly connects the pre- and postsynaptic domain. During synaptic activity calcium concentrations are hypothesized to drop below critical thresholds which leads to loosening of the N-Cadherin connections and subsequently "unzips" the Cadherin-mediated connection. These processes may result in changes in synaptic strength [2]. In order to investigate the calcium-mediated N-Cadherin dynamics at the synaptic cleft, we developed a three-dimensional model including the cleft morphology and all prominent calcium exchangers and corresponding density distributions [3, 4, 5, 6]. The necessity for a fully three-dimensional model becomes apparent, when investigating the effects of the spatial architecture of the synapse [7], [8]. Our data show, that the localization of calcium channels with respect to the N-Cadherin ring has substantial effects on the time-scales on which the Cadherin-zipper switches between states, ranging from seconds to minutes. This will have significant effects on synaptic signaling. Furthermore we see, that high-frequency action potential firing can only be relayed to the Calcium/N-Cadherin-system at a synapse under precise spatial synaptic reorganization.

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Copyright information

© Grein et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Goethe Center for Scientific ComputingFrankfurt am Main, HessenGermany
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for Brain ResearchFrankfurt am Main, HessenGermany

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