Early presynaptic changes during plasticity in cultured hippocampal neurons

Ipe Ninan, Shumin Liu, Daniel Rabinowitz, Ottavio Arancio

Author Affiliations

  1. Ipe Ninan1,
  2. Shumin Liu1,
  3. Daniel Rabinowitz2 and
  4. Ottavio Arancio*,1
  1. 1 Taub Institute and Department of Pathology, Columbia University, New York City, NY, USA
  2. 2 Department of Statistics, Columbia University, New York City, NY, USA
  1. *Corresponding author. Taub Institute and Department of Pathology, Columbia University, P&S 12‐442, 630W, 168th Street, New York City, NY 10032, USA. Tel.: +1 212 342 5527; Fax: +1 212 342 5523; E-mail: oa1{at}
View Full Text


Long‐lasting increase in synaptic strength is thought to underlie learning. An explosion of data has characterized changes in postsynaptic (pstS) AMPA receptor cycling during potentiation. However, changes occurring within the presynaptic (prS) terminal remain largely unknown. We show that appearance of new release sites during potentiation between cultured hippocampal neurons is due to (a) conversion of nonrecycling sites to recycling sites, (b) formation of new releasing sites from areas containing diffuse staining for the prS marker Vesicle‐Associated Membrane Protein‐2 and (c) budding of new recycling sites from previously existing recycling sites. In addition, potentiation is accompanied by a release probability increase in pre‐existing boutons depending upon their individual probability. These prS changes precede and regulate fluorescence increase for pstS GFP‐tagged‐AMPA‐receptor subunit GluR1. These results suggest that potentiation involves early changes in the prS terminal including remodeling and release probability increase of pre‐existing synapses.

  • Received May 2, 2006.
  • Accepted August 8, 2006.
View Full Text