Release of neurotransmitter from presynaptic terminals occurs by exocytosis of vesicular contents into the synaptic cleft. We find that more than one quantum of transmitter can interact with the same population of postsynaptic NMDA receptors in conditions which increase the probability of transmitter release. Increasing release probability also results in proportional increases in both AMPA and NMDA receptor components of the synaptic current. These results suggest that the fraction of AMPA and NMDA receptors occupied by transmitter following the release of a single quantum is similar. Based on AMPA and NMDA receptor responses of outside-out patches to short applications of glutamate, we suggest that both receptor types may be saturated normally by synaptic release.
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