A unified computational model for cortical post-synaptic plasticity

Elife. 2020 Jul 30:9:e55714. doi: 10.7554/eLife.55714.


Signalling pathways leading to post-synaptic plasticity have been examined in many types of experimental studies, but a unified picture on how multiple biochemical pathways collectively shape neocortical plasticity is missing. We built a biochemically detailed model of post-synaptic plasticity describing CaMKII, PKA, and PKC pathways and their contribution to synaptic potentiation or depression. We developed a statistical AMPA-receptor-tetramer model, which permits the estimation of the AMPA-receptor-mediated maximal synaptic conductance based on numbers of GluR1s and GluR2s predicted by the biochemical signalling model. We show that our model reproduces neuromodulator-gated spike-timing-dependent plasticity as observed in the visual cortex and can be fit to data from many cortical areas, uncovering the biochemical contributions of the pathways pinpointed by the underlying experimental studies. Our model explains the dependence of different forms of plasticity on the availability of different proteins and can be used for the study of mental disorder-associated impairments of cortical plasticity.

Keywords: LTP/LTD; STDP; biochemically detailed model; calcium signalling; computational biology; intracellular signalling cascade; mouse; neuroscience; rat; systems biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computational Biology
  • Mice
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*


  • Receptors, AMPA