Additive effects on the energy barrier for synaptic vesicle fusion cause supralinear effects on the vesicle fusion rate.

S. Schotten, M. Meijer, A.M. Walter, V.W.J. Huson, L. Mamer, L. Kalogreades, M.T. Veer, M. Ruiter, N. Brose, C. Rosenmund, J.B. Sorensen, M. Verhage, L.N. Cornelisse

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The energy required to fuse synaptic vesicles with the plasma membrane ('activation energy') is considered a major determinant in synaptic efficacy. From reaction rate theory we predict that a class of modulations exists, which utilize linear modulation of the energy barrier for fusion to achieve supralinear effects on the fusion rate. To test this prediction experimentally, we developed a method to assess the number of releasable vesicles, rate constants for vesicle priming, unpriming, and fusion, and the activation energy for fusion by fitting a vesicle state model to synaptic responses induced by hypertonic solutions. We show that Complexinl/II deficiency or phorbol ester stimulation indeed affects responses to hypertonic solution in a supralinear manner. An additive versus multiplicative relationship between activation energy and fusion rate provides a novel explanation for previously observed non-linear effects of genetic/pharmacological perturbations on synaptic transmission and a novel interpretation of the cooperative nature of Ca2+-dependent release.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere05531
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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