Quantal Nature of Acetylcholine Release

What is the mechanism by which Ca2+ causes the release of chemical transmitter? Figure 16 illustrates an experiment that provided some initial insights. As discussed above, the EPP is a relatively large event, 50 mV or so in amplitude under normal situations. Most scientists who had been recording the EPP at the neuromuscular junction were doing so with the amplification of their oscilloscope set at a relatively low level. Katz and his colleagues increased the amplification and examined the background noise in the absence of any stimulation. (This would be equivalent to tuning your stereo receiver to a portion of the band that has no station and maximally increasing the volume to listen to the noise.) Figure 16 illustrates the type of electrical measurements made at the neuromuscular junction under these conditions. The traces in Fig. 16A are a continuous recording from the same experiment going

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