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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Aug 15;97(17):9695-700.

Ca2+-dependent regulation of synaptic SNARE complex assembly via a calmodulin- and phospholipid-binding domain of synaptobrevin.

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  • 1Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale Unité, Université de la Méditerrannée, Marseille, France.


Synaptic core complex formation is an essential step in exocytosis, and assembly into a superhelical structure may drive synaptic vesicle fusion. To ascertain how Ca(2+) could regulate this process, we examined calmodulin binding to recombinant core complex components. Surface plasmon resonance and pull-down assays revealed Ca(2+)-dependent calmodulin binding (K(d) = 500 nM) to glutathione S-transferase fusion proteins containing synaptobrevin (VAMP 2) domains but not to syntaxin 1 or synaptosomal-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25). Deletion mutations, tetanus toxin cleavage, and peptide synthesis localized the calmodulin-binding domain to VAMP(77-94), immediately C-terminal to the tetanus toxin cleavage site (Q(76)-F(77)). In isolated synaptic vesicles, Ca(2+)/calmodulin protected native membrane-inserted VAMP from proteolysis by tetanus toxin. Assembly of a (35)S-SNAP-25, syntaxin 1 GST-VAMP(1-96) complex was inhibited by Ca(2+)/calmodulin, but assembly did not mask subsequent accessibility of the calmodulin-binding domain. The same domain contains a predicted phospholipid interaction site. SPR revealed calcium-independent interactions between VAMP(77-94) and liposomes containing phosphatidylserine, which blocked calmodulin binding. Circular dichroism spectroscopy demonstrated that the calmodulin/phospholipid-binding peptide displayed a significant increase in alphahelical content in a hydrophobic environment. These data provide insight into the mechanisms by which Ca(2+) may regulate synaptic core complex assembly and protein interactions with membrane bilayers during exocytosis.

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