Calcium cooperativity of exocytosis as a measure of Ca 2+ channel domain overlap

Victor Matveev, Richard Bertram, Arthur Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The number of Ca 2+ channels contributing to the exocytosis of a single neurotransmitter vesicle in a presynaptic terminal has been a question of significant interest and debate, and is important for a full understanding of localized Ca 2+ signaling in general, and synaptic physiology in particular. This is usually estimated by measuring the sensitivity of the neurotransmitter release rate to changes in the synaptic Ca 2+ current, which is varied using appropriate voltage-clamp protocols or via pharmacological Ca 2+ channel block under the condition of constant single-channel Ca 2+ current. The slope of the resulting log-log plot of transmitter release rate versus presynaptic Ca 2+ current is termed Ca 2+ current cooperativity of exocytosis, and provides indirect information about the underlying presynaptic morphology. In this review, we discuss the relationship between the Ca 2+ current cooperativity and the average number of Ca 2+ channels participating in the exocytosis of a single vesicle, termed the Ca 2+channel cooperativity. We relate these quantities to the morphology of the presynaptic active zone. We also review experimental studies of Ca 2+ current cooperativity and its modulation during development in different classes of synapses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-138
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - Jun 29 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Active zone
  • Calcium buffer
  • Calcium cooperativity
  • Calcium diffusion
  • Channel cooperativity
  • Current cooperativity
  • Exocytosis
  • Modeling
  • Presynaptic
  • Synaptic transmission


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