Nanodomain coupling between Ca²⁺ channels and sensors of exocytosis at fast mammalian synapses

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2011 Dec 20;13(1):7-21. doi: 10.1038/nrn3125.


The physical distance between presynaptic Ca(2+) channels and the Ca(2+) sensors that trigger exocytosis of neurotransmitter-containing vesicles is a key determinant of the signalling properties of synapses in the nervous system. Recent functional analysis indicates that in some fast central synapses, transmitter release is triggered by a small number of Ca(2+) channels that are coupled to Ca(2+) sensors at the nanometre scale. Molecular analysis suggests that this tight coupling is generated by protein-protein interactions involving Ca(2+) channels, Ca(2+) sensors and various other synaptic proteins. Nanodomain coupling has several functional advantages, as it increases the efficacy, speed and energy efficiency of synaptic transmission.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Calcium Channels / physiology*
  • Chelating Agents / pharmacology
  • Exocytosis / drug effects
  • Exocytosis / physiology
  • Mammals
  • Models, Biological
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Calcium Channels
  • Chelating Agents
  • Calcium