Communication between neurons forms the basis of brain function. Synapses are specialized structures where the release of neurotransmitter filled synaptic vesicles are precisely regulated to encode information. The brain contains many distinct types of synapses to meet the diverse functional demands of neural circuits resulting in clear behavioral outcomes driven by functional output. How then are different synapses defined in order to meet the unique demands of the circuit in which they are embedded? It has emerged that synapses tightly regulate neurotransmitter release to match the neuronal circuit demand. However, it is poorly understood how synaptic properties are matched to neural circuit function. In particular the early stages of auditory processing require synaptic connections to transmit information over a wide range of firing rates, for sustained duration, and in response to rapid changes in firing rates. Critical to the initial stages of auditory processing is the calyx of Held, a giant axosomatic glutamatergic presynaptic terminal that arises from the globular bushy cells (GBC) in the cochlear nucleus, which is instrumental in the binaural processing of sound. Due to its experimental accessibility, the calyx of Held provides unparalleled opportunities to gain insights into presynaptic mechanisms that support the initial stages of auditory processing. Using a multidisciplinary approach, my laboratory has focused on using this model system to understand the cellular and molecular presynaptic properties that mediate high-fidelity sound encoding. Results of our work to uncover the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms will be presented.
Posted Mar 30 2016
Neurotransmitter Release Mechanisms for Fast Auditory Signaling
Thursday, May 26, 2016 -
11:30am to 1:00pm