Nuclear calcium signals during L-LTP induction do not predict the degree of synaptic potentiation

Cell Calcium. 2007 Mar;41(3):271-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2006.07.005. Epub 2006 Sep 7.


The magnitude and/or duration of nuclear Ca(2+)-transients has been shown to dose-dependently modulate gene transcription upon neuronal activation. This is an attractive model for synapse-to-nucleus communication. In order to encode synaptic information, these nuclear Ca(2+)-transients have to be correlated with changes in synaptic strength rather than changes in gene expression patterns. In this study, we analysed nuclear Ca(2+) signals during L-LTP induction. Using a combined approach of fEPSP recordings and two-photon imaging, these Ca(2+) signals were correlated with different degrees of synaptic potentiation in CA1 hippocampal slices. To refine our analysis on the single-cell level, we developed a new approach called single-cell-excitability-probing (SCEP) to assay the plasticity outcome of individual cells by optical means. The degrees of synaptic potentiation we observed could be categorized into transcription independent, transcription-dependent and reduced transcription-dependent. There is no consistent dose-dependent relationship between these different degrees of synaptic potentiation and the magnitude, the decay time and the area under the curve of nuclear Ca(2+)-transients during L-LTP induction. This indicates that nuclear Ca(2+)-transients during induction are unsuited to grade the degree of plasticity in an analogue manner. We propose a role for nuclear Ca(2+) as a digital on/off switch for activating transcription.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Pyramidal Cells / metabolism*
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology


  • Calcium