- dendritic spine
- 2-photon microscopy
- stimulated emission microscopy
- super resolution microscopy
- synaptic transmission
The structure of dendritic spines suggests a specialized function in compartmentalizing synaptic signals near active synapses. Indeed, theoretical and experimental analyses indicate that the diffusive resistance of the spine neck is sufficient to effectively compartmentalize some signaling molecules in a spine for the duration of their activated lifetime. Here we describe the application of 2-photon microscopy combined with stimulated emission depletion (STED-2P) to the biophysical study of the relationship between synaptic signals and spine morphology, demonstrating the utility of combining STED-2P with modern optical and electrophysiological techniques. Morphological determinants of fluorescence recovery time were identified and evaluated within the context of a simple compartmental model describing diffusive transfer between spine and dendrite. Correlations between the neck geometry and the amplitude of synaptic potentials and calcium transients evoked by 2-photon glutamate uncaging were also investigated.