The Target, the Transmitter, and the Synapse

Science's STKE  10 May 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 283, pp. tw183
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2832005tw183

Despite its profound importance, neurotransmitter release probability has never been directly determined at central synapses, and it is not known what factors are involved in its regulation. Koester and Johnston (see the Perspective by Thompson) show that release probability deduced from postsynaptic calcium transients is similar between synapses onto the same cell but differs between those onto different cells. This normalization of release probabilities in specific synaptic connection indicates that additional release sites in neocortical synaptic connections not only reduce synaptic variability but also provide every targeted neuronal compartment with information at the same rate.

H. J. Koester, D. Johnston, Target cell-dependent normalization of transmitter release at neocortical synapses. Science 308, 863-866 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]

S. M. Thompson, Matching at the synapse. Science 308, 800-801 (2005). [Summary] [Full Text]