Spontaneous action potentials have been described in developing sensory systems. These rhythmic activities may have instructional roles for the functional development of synaptic connections. The importance of spontaneous action potentials in the developing auditory system is underpinned by the stark correlation between the time of auditory system functional maturity, and the cessation of spontaneous action potentials. A prominent K + current that regulates patterning of action potentials is I A. This current undergoes marked changes in expression during chicken hair cell development. Although the properties of I A are not normally classified as Ca 2+-dependent, we demonstrate that throughout the development of chicken hair cells, I A is greatly reduced by acute alterations of intracellular Ca 2+. As determinants of spike timing and firing frequency, intracellular Ca 2+ buffers shift the activation and inactivation properties of the current to more positive potentials. Our findings provide evidence to demonstrate that the kinetics and functional expression of I A are tightly regulated by intracellular Ca 2+. Such feedback mechanism between the functional expression of I A and intracellular Ca 2+ may shape the activity of spontaneous action potentials, thus potentially sculpting synaptic connections in an activity-dependent manner in the developing cochlea.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)