Sizes of glutamatergic synapses vary tremendously, even when formed on the same neuron. This diversity is commonly thought to reflect the outcome of activity-dependent forms of synaptic plasticity, yet activity-independent processes might also play some part. In this paper we show that in neurons with no history of activity whatsoever, synaptic sizes are no less diverse. We show that this diversity is the product of activity-independent size fluctuations, which are sufficient to generate a full repertoire of synaptic sizes at correct proportions. This simulator shows how synaptic size fluctuations governed by a stochastic process known as a Kesten process (as well as a specific form of a non-linear Langevin process) can give rise to this size diversity.
Hazan L, Ziv NE (2020) Activity dependent and independent determinants of synaptic size diversity. J Neurosci [PubMed]