Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 10479687
J. Neurosci. 1999 Sep;19(18):7846-59
Spatially localized Ca(2+) domains are thought to play a key role in action potential (AP)-evoked neurotransmitter release at fast synapses. We used a stage-scan confocal spot-detection method and the low-affinity Ca(2+) indicator Oregon Green 488 BAPTA-5N to study the spatiotemporal profile of presynaptic AP-induced Ca(2+) domains. Families of scanned AP-induced fluorescence transients were detected from spot locations separated by 200-300 nm, within the vicinity of Ca(2+) entry sites. Typically, the largest transient in a particular scan peaked within approximately 1 msec and decayed with rapid (tau(1) of 1.7 msec) and slow components (tau(2) of 16 msec, tau(3) of 78 msec). As the spot was incrementally displaced, transients progressively exhibited a slowing in their time-to-peak and a loss of the fast decay component. Three-dimensional graphs of fluorescence versus time and spot displacement revealed the presence of AP-induced fluorescence domains that dissipated within approximately 7 msec. The size of fluorescence domains were estimated from the full-width at half-maximum of gaussian fits to isochronal DeltaF/F plots and ranged from 0.6 to 3.0 micrometer, with a mean +/- SD of 1.6 +/- 0.6 micrometer. Model simulations of a localized Ca(2+) entry site predicted the major features of the fluorescence transients and suggested that, within approximately 1 msec of the initiation of the Ca(2+) current, both the fluorescence domain and the underlying Ca(2+) domain do not extend significantly beyond the site of entry. Consistent with this prediction, the intracellular addition of EGTA (up to 2 mM) accelerated the decay of the measured transients but did not affect the domain size.