Calcium dependence of spontaneous neurotransmitter release

Courtney L. Williams, Stephen M. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Spontaneous release of neurotransmitters is regulated by extracellular [Ca2+] and intracellular [Ca2+]. Curiously, some of the mechanisms of Ca2+ signaling at central synapses are different at excitatory and inhibitory synapses. While the stochastic activity of voltage-activated Ca2+ channels triggers a majority of spontaneous release at inhibitory synapses, this is not the case at excitatory nerve terminals. Ca2+ release from intracellular stores regulates spontaneous release at excitatory and inhibitory terminals, as do agonists of the Ca2+-sensing receptor. Molecular machinery triggering spontaneous vesicle fusion may differ from that underlying evoked release and may be one of the sources of heterogeneity in release mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-347
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • VGCC (voltage-gated calcium channels)
  • calcium
  • minis
  • spontaneous release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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