Coactivation of multiple tightly coupled calcium channels triggers spontaneous release of GABA

Nat Neurosci. 2012 Sep;15(9):1195-7. doi: 10.1038/nn.3162. Epub 2012 Jul 29.


Voltage-activated Ca(2+) channels (VACCs) mediate Ca(2+) influx to trigger action potential-evoked neurotransmitter release, but the mechanism by which Ca(2+) regulates spontaneous transmission is unclear. We found that VACCs are the major physiological triggers for spontaneous release at mouse neocortical inhibitory synapses. Moreover, despite the absence of a synchronizing action potential, we found that spontaneous fusion of a GABA-containing vesicle required the activation of multiple tightly coupled VACCs of variable type.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Calcium Channels / physiology*
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type / physiology
  • Calcium Channels, P-Type / physiology
  • Calcium Channels, Q-Type / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Mice
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology
  • Synaptic Vesicles / physiology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Calcium Channels
  • Calcium Channels, N-Type
  • Calcium Channels, P-Type
  • Calcium Channels, Q-Type
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Calcium