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New insights into underlying cellular mechanisms of information processing in the brain

Researchers at the Max Planck for and the have uncovered a key factor in regulating information transmittal during the early stages of auditory processing

  • The human body consists of almost 100 billion neurons that contain , point-to-point contacts for information transfer. Every function, feeling and action depends on the ability of within neurons to maintain continuous communication with each other.
  • Synapses transmit information in the form of that contain specific chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. The continuous release of neurotransmitters is essential to maintain communication between neurons.
  • To better understand and address a number of neurological disorders, we need a better understanding of how synapses can continuously relay information between neurons.
  • A new study has discovered that a key factor in regulating this continual communication is the proximity of synaptic vesicles next to voltage gated calcium channels within synapses.

Synaptic vesicles in cell-to-cell communication

SV Distribution within the P16 -P19 Calyx
A, B, Schematic diagram showing SVs at different priming states located at different distance to the Ca 2+ source. Only the SVs that locate close to the Ca 2+ source can be released by AP. We propose that either a single AZ contains a mixture of fast and slow SVs (A) or that there are individual AZs within the calyx that contain only fast or only slow pool SVs (B). In both cases, we propose that distal SVs are rapidly converted to fast pool SVs for AP-evoked release to maintain signaling at high firing rates.
Credit: ; Dr. Samuel M. Young, Jr.


Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience