Depolarization-dependent synaptic potentiation and hyperexcitability induced by a calcium-independent trigger

Fredy D Reyes, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Despite vast research efforts since Cajal's seminal thoughts on the adaptation of the nervous system, researchers have only recently begun to understand the diversity of forms of neuronal plasticity and its mechanisms. All known forms of activity-dependent neuronal plasticity utilize alterations in [Ca 2+]i as a signal of changes in the membrane voltage. Ca 2+ sensors trigger modifications in excitability or synaptic strength that last from seconds to weeks and presumably years. Intriguingly, Kunjilwar et al., (unpublished observations) discovered in peripheral sensory axons of Aplysia that the induction of depolarization-dependent long-term axonal hyperexcitability does not require Ca2+ transients. Here we show that induction of depolarization-dependent intermediate-term and long-term synaptic potentiation in Aplysia occurs in conditions that prevent Ca2+ entry through voltage-gated channels and elevation of [Ca2+]i. We found that the intermediate-term synaptic potentiation induced under conditions expected to prevent Ca 2+ transients is associated with increased excitability of sensory neuron axons near presynaptic terminals, suggesting that the synaptic potentiation involves a presynaptic locus. The Ca2+-independent intermediate- and long-term synaptic potentiation appeared similar to previously reported Ca2+-dependent modifications in Aplysia.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Reyes, Fredy D, "Depolarization-dependent synaptic potentiation and hyperexcitability induced by a calcium-independent trigger" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3335226.