Frequency-selective transmission of graded signals in large monopolar neurons of blowfly Calliphora vicina compound eye.
Many neurons use graded membrane-potential changes, instead of action potentials, to transmit information. Traditional synaptic models feature discontinuous transmitter release by presynaptic action potentials, but this is not true for synapses between graded-potential neurons. In addition to graded and continuous transmitter release, they have multiple active zones, ribbon formations and L-type Ca2+ channels. These differences are probably linked to the high rate of vesicle fusion required for continuous transmitter release. Early stages of sensory systems provide some of the best characterized graded-potential neurons, and recent work on these systems suggests that modification of synaptic transmission by adaptation is a powerful feature of graded synapses.