The molecular determinants of synaptic current kinetics at zebrafish neuromuscular junctions

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Monegon, Rebecca A.
Oregon Health & Science University
Nicotinic receptors; Zebra danio; Neural transmission; Single-channel; Development; Receptors; Nicotinic; Neuromuscular Junction; Acetylcholine; Synaptic Transmission; Zebrafish
thesis / dissertation description
All vertebrates share the two fundamental skeletal muscle types, termed fast and slow muscle, which have evolved distinct functions to meet different motor demands. Fast muscle generates an action potential in response to neural input and contracts rapidly. Slow tonic muscle is inexcitable, and depends on the depolarization derived from synaptic input for contraction. For more than 50 years it has been known that slow muscle exhibits synaptic currents that decay 5-fold slower than currents in fast muscle, but the mechanism responsible for this difference is not known. Two hypotheses have been proposed that could account for the difference in current decay; differences in acetylcholine clearance rate in the synaptic cleft, or differences in acetylcholine receptor kinetics. Zebrafish provides a tractable model system in which to test both hypotheses and resolve this long-standing question. Synaptic current recordings from an acetylcholinesterase mutant null line of zebrafish established