M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentShomar Aseel
SubjectSynaptic Size Dynamics as a Mesoscopic Biophysical
DepartmentDepartment of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Supervisor PROF. Naama Brenner
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Synapses are dynamic molecular assemblies whose sizes fluctuate significantly over time-scales of hours and days.  Macroscopic, statistical models are surprisingly effective in describing synaptic size dynamics and population features, yet their abstract nature limits their ability to explain these phenomena in terms of microscopic features and dynamics. Here we present a mesoscopic model which ties these two levels. Its basic premise is that synaptic dynamics reflect stochastic, cooperative assimilation and removal of molecules at a patch of postsynaptic membrane. The introduction of cooperativity to both assimilation and removal processes gives rise to features qualitatively similar to those measured experimentally: nanoclusters of synaptic scaffolds, fluctuations in synaptic sizes, skewed, stable size distributions and their scaling in response to perturbations. Our model thus points to the potentially fundamental role of cooperativity in dictating synaptic remodeling dynamics and offers a conceptual understanding of these dynamics in terms of central microscopic features and processes.