At the site of information transmission, the transmitter finally gets the attention it deserves
Donald Hebb first postulated the presence of activity-dependent changes in neurons in his seminal book published in 1949. Since then, scientists have advanced our understanding of neuronal interactions tremendously, evaluating synaptic plasticity with ever-increasing temporal and spatial resolution and, in some cases, even correlating electrophysiological and molecular changes with organism behaviour. However, despite the intense interest in and significance of what happens at the synapse relative to cognition and behaviour, the presynaptic changes have largely taken a backseat to the postsynaptic changes. The EU-funded project PreSynPlast is using a variety of in vitro preparations and electrophysiological and molecular studies to provide an unprecedented window onto presynaptic plasticity. Outcomes will have implications for our understanding of the brain, for computational models and computing, and for novel angles on common diseases.
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