Modulation of Ca 2+-dependent and Ca 2+-independent miniature endplate potentials by phorbol ester and adenosine in frog

Timothy J. Searl, Eugene M. Silinsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Phorbol esters and adenosine modulate transmitter release from frog motor nerves through actions at separate sites downstream of calcium entry. However, it is not known whether these agents have calcium-independent sites of action. We therefore characterised calcium independent miniature endplate potentials (mepps) generated in response to 4-aminoquinaldine (4-AQ A) and then compared the modulation of these mepps by phorbol esters and adenosine with that of normal calcium dependent mepps. Application of 30 μM 4-AQ A resulted in the appearance of a population of mepps with amplitudes greater than twice the total population mode (mepp >2M). In the presence of 4-AQ A, K + depolarisation or hypertonicity increased the numbers of normal amplitude mepps (mepp N) but had no effect on the frequency of mepp >2M events, suggesting that mepp >2M are not dependent on calcium. Treatment with the botulinum toxin (Botx) fractions C, D, or E (which selectively cleave syntaxin, synaptobrevin and SNAP-25, respectively) produced equivalent reductions in both normal and 4-AQ A induced mepps, suggesting that both mepp populations have equal dependence on the intact SNARE proteins. Phorbol dibutyrate (PDBu, 100 nM) increased the frequencies of both populations of mepps recorded in the presence of 4-AQ A. Adenosine (25 μM) selectively reduced the numbers of mepp N with no effect on the frequency of mepp >2M events. These results suggest that mepp >2M events released in response to 4-AQ A are dependent on intact forms of syntaxin, synaptobrevin and SNAP-25, but unlike mepp N are independent of a functional calcium sensor. The selective action of adenosine, to reduce the numbers of normal amplitude mepps without effecting the frequency of mepp >2M events, suggests that adenosine normally inhibits transmitter release through a mechanism that is dependent on the presence of a functional calcium sensor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)954-962
Number of pages9
JournalBritish journal of pharmacology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Ach
  • Neuromuscular transmission
  • Neurotransmitter release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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