Mary B. Kennedy, Vladan Lucic (Caltech), Terry Sejnowski, Tom Bartol, Kevin Franks (Salk Institute)
Modeling Of A Glutamatergic Synapse In Mcell
California Institute of Technology
With the near completion of the genome projects, and the accumulation of knowledge about protein structures at the synapse over the past decade, molecular neurobiologists are now able to think about how signaling machinery is organized at synapses and how this structural organization impacts the kinetics and specificity of synaptic signaling. We are using a computer program termed MCell to begin to build a model of the signaling apparatus at glutamatergic synapses in the hippocampus. MCell originated in Mika Salpeter's lab at Cornell and was used to create a stochastic model of neuromuscular transmission. We are now collaborating with Terry Sejnowski's lab at the Salk Institute to build a stochastic model of a glutamatergic synapse that includes signaling reactions triggered by calcium influx through the NMDA receptor, and the resulting changes in synaptic strength. I will describe the methods we are using to incorporate signalling machinery into the simulation.