THE UNITARY EVOKED POTENTIAL AT THE FROG NERVE-MUSCLE JUNCTION RESULTS FROM SYNCHRONOUS GATING OF FUSI0N PORES AT DOCKED VESICLES

Authors


Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, SUNY HSC at Syracuse, New York, 13210, U.S.A.

Abstract

Exocytosis of a single vesicle has been proposed as the mechanism which determines quantal size by releasing a prepackaged and standard amount of acetylcholine. As first described by del Castillo and Katz (1954) the endplate potential is composed of 100 unitary events and the small variance suggests a binomial release from 100 “discrete patches of membrane”. However, exocytosis of 100 vesicles selected randomly from 5000 docked vesicles would yield a variance that is 7 times greater than observed values. We propose that the presynaptic ridge with its compliment of docked vesicles functions as the “discrete patch of membrane” such that arrays of calcium activated fusion pores meter transmitter to form the unit of release. A model based on the synchronous flicker of a large number of fusion pores produces the small variance of both miniature end plate potentials and unitary end plate potentials. Release from a single locus (fusion pore) would generate the sub-MEPP. This model permits vesicle trafficking and vesicular content depletion during tetanic stimulation and explains the frequency dependency of MEPP amplitudes and changes in sub-MEPP to bell-MEPP class ratios.

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