Jan 22, 2016

The basis of sharp spike onset in standard biophysical models

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Maria Tele?czukRomain Brette


In most vertebrate neurons, spikes initiate in the axonal initial segment. When recorded in the soma, they have a surprisingly sharp onset, as if sodium (Na) channels opened abruptly. On the basis of multicompartmental models, this phenomenon has been previously attributed to the progressive sharpening of spikes as they backpropagate from the initiation site to the soma. Here we show in the same models that the biophysical basis of the phenomenon is not backpropagation but critical resistive coupling between the soma and the initial segment. Accordingly, spike initiation results from the interplay between Na current and axial resistive current flowing from axonal initiation site to soma, rather than between local Na and potassium transmembrane currents at the initiation site. The sharp onset of somatic spikes is therefore not an artifact of recording spikes at the incorrect location, but rather the signature that spike initiation does not follow the standard account.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Initial Segment of Axon
Integral Membrane Proteins
Scn7a protein, rat
Transcription Initiation

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