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Random is Better: Stochastic Vesicle Release in Synaptic

Mathematical Biology

Speaker: Calvin Zhang, University of Arizona
Location: 2112 MSB
Start time: Mon, Apr 10 2017, 3:10PM

Randomness is present in almost all levels of all nervous systems, such as in ionic channels of individual neurons, in synapses between neurons, and in environmental stimuli. The probabilistic nature of the synaptic vesicle release process is believed to be one of the most significant sources of randomness, especially in the central nervous system. We show that stochastic vesicle release is not only a source of disturbance, but it also can be beneficial for neuronal information processing. Furthermore, we show that the probabilistic nature of neurotransmitter release directly influences the functional role of a synapse, and that a small probability of release per docked vesicle helps reduce the error in the reconstruction of desired signals from the time series of vesicle release events. This is joint work done in collaboration with Charles S. Peskin (Courant Institute).