Ultrafast exocytosis elicited by calcium current in synaptic terminals of retinal bipolar neurons

Neuron. 1996 Dec;17(6):1241-9. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80254-8.


Using high resolution capacitance measurements, we have characterized an ultrafast component of transmitter release in ribbon-type synaptic terminals of retinal bipolar neurons. During depolarization, capacitance increases to a plateau of approximately 30 fF with a time constant of approximately 1.5 ms. When not limited by activation kinetics of calcium current, the small pool is depleted even faster, with a time constant of 0.5 ms. After the ultrafast pool is depleted, capacitance rises with a slower time constant of approximately 300 ms. EGTA (5 mM) depresses the slower capacitance rise but leaves the ultrafast phase intact. BAPTA (5 mM) depresses both components of exocytosis. With paired-pulse stimulation, the ultrafast pool recovers from depletion with a time constant of approximately 4 s. The ultrafast component may represent fusion of docked vesicles at the base of the synaptic ribbon, while the slower component represents more distal vesicles on the ribbon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Buffers
  • Calcium / physiology*
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Exocytosis / physiology*
  • Goldfish
  • Kinetics
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology*
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Buffers
  • Calcium