A General Model of Synaptic Transmission and Short-Term Plasticity

Bin Pan, Robert S. Zucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Some synapses transmit strongly to action potentials (APs), but weaken with repeated activation; others transmit feebly at first, but strengthen with sustained activity. We measured synchronous and asynchronous transmitter release at "phasic" crayfish neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) showing depression and at facilitating "tonic" junctions, and define the kinetics of depression and facilitation. We offer a comprehensive model of presynaptic processes, encompassing mobilization of reserve vesicles, priming of docked vesicles, their association with Ca2+ channels, and refractoriness of release sites, while accounting for data on presynaptic buffers governing Ca2+ diffusion. Model simulations reproduce many experimentally defined aspects of transmission and plasticity at these synapses. Their similarity to vertebrate central synapses suggests that the model might be of general relevance to synaptic transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-554
Number of pages16
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 28 2009
Externally publishedYes



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'A General Model of Synaptic Transmission and Short-Term Plasticity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this