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Imaging-Based Measures of Synaptic Tenacity

  • Noam E. Ziv
Protocol
Part of the Neuromethods book series (NM, volume 84)

Abstract

Activity-induced modification of synaptic connections (“synaptic plasticity”) is widely believed to represent a major mechanism for modifying the functional properties of neuronal networks, possibly providing the basis for phenomena collectively referred to as “learning and memory.” This belief has an important corollary: It implies that synapses, when not driven to change their characteristics by physiologically relevant stimuli, should retain these characteristics over time. Recent studies, however, have shown that synaptic molecules, organelles, and even patches of synaptic specializations continuously move in, out, and between synapses at significant rates. Given these intense dynamics, the ability of synapses to retain their individual characteristics over behaviorally relevant time scales is not at all obvious.

This chapter focuses on techniques used to study the cellular and molecular dynamics of synaptic components and on quantitative measures of synaptic tenacity—the capacity of synapses to maintain their characteristics over time. These include fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP), fluorescence recovery after photoactivation (FRAPA), and several analytical tools used to quantify the (in)stability of individual synapses and of synaptic configurations.

Key words

Synapse Synaptic tenacity FRAP Photoactivation Fluorescent proteins 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noam E. Ziv
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and Biophysics and Rappaport InstituteTechnion Faculty of MedicineHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Network Biology Research LaboratoriesLorry Lokey Center for Life Sciences & EngineeringHaifaIsrael

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