The energy required to fuse synaptic vesicles with the plasma membrane ('activation energy') is considered a major determinant in synaptic efficacy. From reaction rate theory we predict that a class of modulations exists, which utilize linear modulation of the energy barrier for fusion to achieve supralinear effects on the fusion rate. To test this prediction experimentally, we developed a method to assess the number of releasable vesicles, rate constants for vesicle priming, unpriming, and fusion, and the activation energy for fusion by fitting a vesicle state model to synaptic responses induced by hypertonic solutions. We show that ComplexinI/II deficiency or phorbol ester stimulation indeed affects responses to hypertonic solution in a supralinear manner. An additive versus multiplicative relationship between activation energy and fusion rate provides a novel explanation for previously observed non-linear effects of genetic/pharmacological perturbations on synaptic transmission and a novel interpretation of the cooperative nature of Ca2+-dependent release.
- Michael Häusser, University College London, United Kingdom
© 2015, Schotten et al.
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