Biochemical signaling networks decode temporal patterns of synaptic input

J Comput Neurosci. Jul-Aug 2002;13(1):49-62. doi: 10.1023/a:1019644427655.


Synapses exhibit a wide repertoire of responses to different temporal patterns of synaptic input. Many of these responses are expressed as short and long-term changes in synaptic strength. Electrical properties of channels and calcium buildup can account for rapid aspects of pattern decoding, but it is not clear how more complex input patterns, especially those lasting over many minutes, could be discriminated. This paper shows that a network of signaling pathways can discriminate between complex input patterns lasting tens of minutes, and can give rise to distinct combinatorial patterns of biochemical signaling activity in pathways involved in synaptic change. Regulatory signaling input can alter and even reverse the strengths of responses to input patterns. Thus the synaptic signaling network may function as a temporal decoder that transforms patterns from the time domain into the domain of chemical signaling. This may underlie different synaptic responses to different stimulus patterns.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Computer Simulation
  • Differential Threshold
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Feedback
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*


  • Protein Kinase C
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Calcium