Dr. Martin Heine

"Surface Dynamics of Ion Channels Tune Neuronal Communication"

A lecture on how "Surface Dynamics of Ion Channels Tune Neuronal Communication" by Dr. Martin Heine from the Leibniz-Institut für Neurobiology (Magdeburg, Germany) started off the second day of the symposium. He argued that even minimal lateral movements of ion channels that play key roles in transmitter release and postsynaptic responses will have considerable impact on the strength of synaptic transmission. In order to follow the fluctuations of presynaptic voltage-gated Ca2+ channels and postsynaptic ionotropic glutamate receptors on the nanometer scale, he used super-resolution microscopy and assessed the functional consequences of the observed ion channel displacements by combining single particle tracking with patch-clamp recordings and optical read-outs of neuronal activity. Most importantly, he was able to demonstrate that an experimental immobilization of the fraction of highly mobile ion channels altered essential features of synaptic transmission including short-term plasticity.