About this Research Topic
Synapses are the specialized junctions that connect neurons into circuits. They transmit electrical information between neurons either directly via gap junctions or indirectly using chemical neurotransmitters. In both cases, connection strength is often a plastic phenomenon that can be modulated dynamically to process the information that is transmitted and over the long term to store memories. Synapses thus seem to play a fundamental role in biological computation and information storage, which are the primary tasks of the brain, and yet precisely how this occurs remains largely unknown at levels ranging from the molecular to computational.
A wealth of powerful new techniques has emerged in recent years for interrogating synaptic function, and yet high-profile fundamental studies continue to additionally rely on methods already in use decades ago. Training junior researchers is a time-consuming bottleneck that is often hampered by the lack of easy-to-understand descriptions of best practices with these methodologies. Here we provide a collection of straightforward and accessible papers on state-of-the-art methods for exploring synaptic function, written by experts.
Keywords: synapse, electrophysiology, imaging, quantal analysis, plasticity
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