Dendritic integration of synaptic inputs entangles their increased electrotonic attenuation at distal dendrites, which can be counterbalanced by the increased synaptic receptor density. However, during sustained network activity the influence of individual synapses depends on their release properties. How these properties are distributed along dendrites remains poorly understood. Here, we employed classical optical quantal analyses and a genetically encoded optical glutamate sensor in acute hippocampal slices to monitor release at CA3-CA1 synapses. We find that their release probability increases with greater distances from the soma. Similar-fidelity synapses tend to group together whereas release probability shows no trends regarding the within-branch position. Simulations with a realistic CA1 pyramidal cell hosting stochastic synapses suggest that the observed trends boost signal transfer fidelity, particularly at higher input frequencies. Because high-frequency bursting has been associated with learning, the release probability pattern we have found may play a key role in memory trace formation.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience