Functional specialization of presynaptic Cav2.3 Ca2+ channels

Neuron. 2003 Jul 31;39(3):483-96. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(03)00430-6.


Ca2+ influx into presynaptic terminals via voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels triggers fast neurotransmitter release as well as different forms of synaptic plasticity. Using electrophysiological and genetic techniques we demonstrate that presynaptic Ca2+ entry through Cav2.3 subunits contributes to the induction of mossy fiber LTP and posttetanic potentiation by brief trains of presynaptic action potentials while they do not play a role in fast synaptic transmission, paired-pulse facilitation, or frequency facilitation. This functional specialization is most likely achieved by a localization remote from the release machinery and by a Cav2.3 channel-dependent facilitation of presynaptic Ca2+ influx. Thus, the presence of Cav2.3 channels boosts the accumulation of presynaptic Ca2+ triggering presynaptic LTP and posttetanic potentiation without affecting the low release probability that is a prerequisite for the enormous plasticity displayed by mossy fiber synapses.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Calcium Channels / genetics
  • Calcium Channels / physiology
  • Calcium Channels, R-Type / genetics
  • Calcium Channels, R-Type / physiology*
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Nickel / physiology
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology*


  • Calcium Channels
  • Calcium Channels, R-Type
  • Nickel
  • Calcium