Prof Terrence J. Sejnowski
Head of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
25 Oct 2005, 30 Biopolis Way, Matrix Building, Level 4, Breakthrough(Theatrette), Singapore 138671, 11.00 am - 12.00 pm
The Secret Lives of Synapses
Neurons communicate at anatomically specialized sites called synapses. When a cortical synapse is stimulated a single vesicle is released containing a few thousand neurotransmitter molecules, which bind to a few dozen receptor molecules, resulting in strongly fluctuating synaptic currents. Detailed computer simulations that track every molecule and biochemical reaction are revealing the importance of spatial microdomains in regulating synaptic function. Simulations of the ciliary ganglion synapse show that most vesicles are released outside of active zones, which raises the possiblity that in the brain anatomy may not be destiny.