Question icon
Your Current Search
Choose below to refine your search
Research Topic
Download abstract book

Download the NI2012 abstract book here. The page numbers in the index are clickable for easy browsing.


Numerical simulations of glutamate diffusion in a synaptic cleft. Dependence on the geometry and its possible interactions


Wojciech Goch (Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics PAS), Wojciech Bal (Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics PAS)

     The mechanism of the chemical synapse has been intensively investigated, but the precise time-course of a neurotransmitter in the synaptic cleft is still to be determined. Many approaches to the study of the neurotransmitter flow can be found in the literature, but in most of them the assumption on the simplified geometry has been made. Our first goal was to investigate the possible influence of the cleft geometry on the diffusion rate of the neurotransmitter and the saturation of the receptors.

   The second issue we are interested in is a possible participation of zinc in Aβ peptide aggregation - one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer Disease. As the dysfunction of zinc homeostasis is considered, we aim to investigate the interactions of 〖Zn〗^(2+) ions with glutamate in the confined volume of the synapse.
In order to achieve these goals we developed dedicated software within the Wolfram Mathematica environment. Our simulations illustrate the Brownian motion of glutamate molecules and zinc ions in a small volume, constrained by 2D surfaces (modeling the pre- and postsynaptic membrane) with an arbitrary chosen shape. The interactions between glutamate and 〖Zn〗^(2+) and receptors/transporters are defined by collision induced reactions. The electrostatic interactions between molecules and the membrane surface are also considered. The proposed model shows a dependence between the geometry of the synaptic cleft and the time-course of glutamate, thus providing an insight into the role of zinc in Alzheimer Disease.
Preferred presentation format: Poster
Topic: Computational neuroscience