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Functional specialization of presynaptic Cav2.3 Ca2+ channels.

Dirk Dietrich, Timo Kirschstein, Maria Kukley, Alexej Pereverzev, Christian von der Brelie, Toni Schneider, Heinz Beck

Neuron, 2003 Jul 31 , 39, 483-96

Ca2+ influx into presynaptic terminals via voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels triggers fast neurotransmitter release as well as different forms of synaptic plasticity. Using electrophysiological and genetic techniques we demonstrate that presynaptic Ca2+ entry through Cav2.3 subunits contributes to the induction of mossy fiber LTP and posttetanic potentiation by brief trains of presynaptic action potentials while they do not play a role in fast synaptic transmission, paired-pulse facilitation, or frequency facilitation. This functional specialization is most likely achieved by a localization remote from the release machinery and by a Cav2.3 channel-dependent facilitation of presynaptic Ca2+ influx. Thus, the presence of Cav2.3 channels boosts the accumulation of presynaptic Ca2+ triggering presynaptic LTP and posttetanic potentiation without affecting the low release probability that is a prerequisite for the enormous plasticity displayed by mossy fiber synapses.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12895422