The spontaneous fusion of vesicles at nerve terminals produces random miniature postsynaptic potentials (quantal responses) that are thought to have little functional significance. In this issue of Neuron, Sharma and Vijayaraghavan provide evidence that exogenous signals can accelerate and synchronize the occurrence of quanta strongly enough to activate postsynaptic neurons in what may be a new way to transfer information across synapses.
Zucker, R. S. (2003, June 19). Can a synaptic signal arise from noise? Neuron. Cell Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0896-6273(03)00363-5