Quantal secretion and nerve-terminal cable properties at neuromuscular junctions in an amphibian (Bufo marinus).
The effect of a conditioning depolarizing current pulse (80-200 micros) on quantal secretion evoked by a similar test pulse at another site was examined in visualized motor-nerve terminal branches of amphibian endplates (Bufo marinus). Tetrodotoxin (200 nM) and cadmium (50 microM) were used to block voltage-dependent sodium and calcium conductances. Quantal release at the test electrode was depressed at different distances (28-135 microm) from the conditioning electrode when the conditioning and test pulses were delivered simultaneously. This depression decreased when the interval between conditioning and test current pulses was increased, until, at an interval of approximately 0.25 ms, it was negligible. At no time during several thousand test-conditioning pairs, for electrodes at different distances apart (28-135 microm) on the same or contiguous terminal branches, did the electrotonic effects of quantal release at one electrode produce quantal release at the other. Analytic and numerical solutions were obtained for the distribution of transmembrane potential at different sites along terminal branches of different lengths for current injection at a point on a terminal branch wrapped in Schwann cell, in the absence of active membrane conductances. Solutions were also obtained for the combined effects of two sites of current injection separated by different time delays. This cable model shows that depolarizing current injections of a few hundred microseconds duration produce hyperpolarizations at approximately 30 microm beyond the site of current injection, with these becoming larger and occurring at shorter distances the shorter the terminal branch. Thus the effect of a conditioning depolarizing pulse at one site on a subsequent test pulse at another more than approximately 30 microm away is to substantially decrease the absolute depolarization produced by the latter, provided the interval between the pulses is less than a few hundred microseconds. It is concluded that the passive cable properties of motor nerve terminal branches are sufficient to explain the effects on quantal secretion by a test electrode depolarization of current injections from a spatially removed conditioning electrode. (+info)
Tonic activation of presynaptic GABAB receptors in the opener neuromuscular junction of crayfish.
Release of excitatory transmitter from boutons on crayfish nerve terminals was inhibited by (R,S)-baclofen, an agonist at GABAB receptors. Baclofen had no postsynaptic actions as it reduced quantal content without affecting quantal amplitude. The effect of baclofen increased with concentration producing 18% inhibition at 10 microM; EC50, 50% inhibition at 30 microM; maximal inhibition, 85% at 100 microM and higher. There was no desensitization, even with 200 or 320 microM baclofen. Phaclofen, an antagonist at GABAB receptors, competitively antagonized the inhibitory action of baclofen (KD = 50 microM, equivalent to a pA2 = 4.3 +/- 0.1). Phaclofen on its own at concentrations below 200 microM had no effect on release, whereas at 200 microM phaclofen itself increased the control level of release by 60%, as did 2-hydroxy-saclofen (200 microM), another antagonist at GABAB receptors. This increase was evidently due to antagonism of a persistent level of GABA in the synaptic cleft, since the effect was abolished by destruction of the presynaptic inhibitory fiber, using intra-axonal pronase. We conclude that presynaptic GABAB receptors, with a pharmacological profile similar to that of mammalian GABAB receptors, are involved in the control of transmitter release at the crayfish neuromuscular junction. (+info)
Effect of hypertonicity on augmentation and potentiation and on corresponding quantal parameters of transmitter release.
Augmentation and (posttetanic) potentiation are two of the four components comprising the enhanced release of transmitter following repetitive nerve stimulation. To examine the quantal basis of these components under isotonic and hypertonic conditions, we recorded miniature endplate potentials (MEPPs) from isolated frog (Rana pipiens) cutaneous pectoris muscles, before and after repetitive nerve stimulation (40 s at 80 Hz). Continuous recordings were made in low Ca2+ high Mg2+ isotonic Ringer solution, in Ringer that was made hypertonic with 100 mM sucrose, and in wash solution. Estimates were obtained of m (no. of quanta released), n (no. of functional release sites), p (mean probability of release), and vars p (spatial variance in p), using a method that employed MEPP counts. Hypertonicity abolished augmentation without affecting potentiation. There were prolonged poststimulation increases in m, n, and p and a marked but transient increase in vars p in the hypertonic solution. All effects were completely reversed with wash. The time constants of decay for potentiation and for vars p were virtually identical. The results are consistent with the notion that augmentation is caused by Ca2+ influx through voltage-gated calcium channels and that potentiation is due to Na+-induced Ca2+ release from mitochondria. The results also demonstrate the utility of this approach for analyzing the dynamics of quantal transmitter release. (+info)
Synaptic vesicle dynamics in rat fast and slow motor nerve terminals.
We have investigated whether rat motor nerve terminals with different in vivo activity patterns also have different vesicle trafficking characteristics. To do this, we monitored, using combined optical and electrical techniques, the rate of exocytosis (during different frequencies and patterns of activity), the releasable pool size, and the recycle time of synaptic vesicles in terminals on soleus (slow-twitch) and extensor digitorum longus [(EDL); fast-twitch] muscle fibers. EDL terminals had a higher initial quantal content (QC) than soleus, but during tonic or phasic stimulation at 20-80 Hz, EDL QC ran down to a greater extent than soleus QC. By recording loss of fluorescence from exocytosing vesicles labeled with the dye FM1-43, EDL terminals were found to destain faster than those in soleus. Simultaneous intracellular recording of end plate potentials, to count the number of vesicles released, permitted estimation of the total vesicle pool (VP) size and the recycle time by combining the optical and electrophysiological data. Soleus vesicle pool was larger than EDL, but recycle time was not significantly different. These terminals, therefore, are adapted to their in vivo activity patterns by alterations in QC and VP size but not recycle time. (+info)
Biosynthesis of indole-3-acetic acid in Azospirillum brasilense. Insights from quantum chemistry.
Quantum chemical methods AM1 and PM3 and chromatographic methods were used to qualitatively characterize pathways of bacterial production of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA). The standard free energy changes (delta G(o)'sum) for the synthesis of tryptophan (Trp) from chorismic acid via anthranilic acid and indole were calculated, as were those for several possible pathways for the synthesis of IAA from Trp, namely via indole-3-acetamide (IAM), indole-3-pyruvic acid (IPyA), and indole-3-acetonitrile (IAN). The delta G(o)'sum for Trp synthesis from chorismic acid was -402 (-434) kJ.mol-1 (values in parentheses were calculated by PM3). The delta G(o)'sum for IAA synthesis from Trp were -565 (-548) kJ.mol-1 for the IAN pathway, -481 (-506) kJ.mol-1 for the IAM pathway, and -289 (-306) kJ.mol-1 for the IPyA pathway. By HPLC analysis, the possibility was assessed that indole, anthranilic acid, and Trp might be utilized as precursors for IAA synthesis by Azospirillum brasilense strain Sp 245. The results indicate that there is a high motive force for Trp synthesis from chorismic acid and for IAA synthesis from Trp, and make it unlikely that anthranilic acid and indole act as the precursors to IAA in a Trp-independent pathway. (+info)
Glutamate receptor expression regulates quantal size and quantal content at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction.
At the Drosophila glutamatergic neuromuscular junction, the postsynaptic cell can regulate synaptic strength by both changing its sensitivity to neurotransmitter and generating a retrograde signal that regulates presynaptic transmitter release. To investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying these forms of plasticity, we have undertaken a genetic analysis of two postsynaptic glutamate receptors that are expressed at this synapse. Deletion of both genes results in embryonic lethality that can be rescued by transgenic expression of either receptor. Although these receptors are redundant for viability, they have important differences. By transgenically rescuing the double mutant, we have investigated the relationship of receptor gene dosage and composition to synaptic function. We find that the receptor subunit composition regulates quantal size, Argiotoxin sensitivity, and receptor desensitization kinetics. Finally, we show that the activity of the receptor can regulate the retrograde signal functioning at this synapse. Thus, the diversity of receptors expressed at this synapse provides the cell with mechanisms for generating synaptic plasticity. (+info)
Glutamate uptake limits synaptic excitation of retinal ganglion cells.
EPSCs of retinal ganglion cells decay more slowly than do those of most other CNS neurons, in part because of the long time course of glutamate release from bipolar cells. Here we investigated how glutamate clearance and AMPA receptor desensitization affect ganglion cell EPSCs in the salamander retinal slice preparation. Inhibition of glutamate uptake greatly prolonged ganglion cell EPSCs evoked by light or monosynaptic electrical stimuli but had little effect on spontaneous miniature EPSCs (mEPSCs). This suggests that single quanta of glutamate are cleared rapidly by diffusion but multiple quanta can interact to lengthen the postsynaptic response. Some interaction between quanta is likely to occur even when glutamate uptake is not inhibited. This seems to depend on quantal content, because reducing glutamate release with low Ca2+, paired-pulse depression, or weak stimuli shortened the EPSC decay. High quantal content glutamate release may lead to desensitization of postsynaptic receptors. We reduced the extent of AMPA receptor desensitization by holding ganglion cells at positive potentials. This increased the amplitude of the late phase of evoked EPSCs but did not affect the decay rate after the first 50 msec of the response. In contrast, the holding potential had little effect on mEPSC kinetics. Our results suggest that desensitization limits the late phase of AMPA receptor-mediated EPSCs, whereas glutamate uptake controls the duration of both AMPA and NMDA receptor-mediated responses. (+info)
Asynchrony of quantal events in evoked multiquantal responses indicates presynaptic quantal interaction.
Asynchrony of quantal events in evoked multiquantal responses indicates presynaptic quantal interaction. We have analyzed the possibility of quantal interactions by inspecting action potential-evoked postsynaptic multiquantal responses recorded extracellularly from the lobster neuromuscular junction. These recorded responses were compared with simulated multiquantal responses constructed from statistically independent quantal events. The simulated multiquantal responses were generated by random superposition of single quantal responses aligned according to the timing of the action potential. The methods of analysis consisted of 1) the comparison of quantal contents obtained from direct counting or by measuring of the size of the responses and 2) the analysis of distributions of quantal latencies. This analysis revealed a large error in the detection of quantal events for responses simulated with no quantal interaction. In contrast, very few errors in quantal detection were made in the analysis of experimental recordings. Latency histograms of recorded responses demonstrate that the proportion of late quantal events (those with latencies of >/=5 ms) increased as a function of quantal content. This shift in latency histograms was not observed for simulated responses. Our interpretation is that quanta interact presynaptically to cause asynchrony of quantal events in evoked responses. (+info)