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J Cell Biol. 2004 Jan 19;164(2):301-11.

Physical and functional interaction of the active zone proteins, CAST, RIM1, and Bassoon, in neurotransmitter release.

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  • 1KAN Research Institute, Kyoto Research Park, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8815, Japan.


We have recently isolated a novel cytomatrix at the active zone (CAZ)-associated protein, CAST, and found it directly binds another CAZ protein RIM1 and indirectly binds Munc13-1 through RIM1; RIM1 and Munc13-1 directly bind to each other and are implicated in priming of synaptic vesicles. Here, we show that all the CAZ proteins thus far known form a large molecular complex in the brain, including CAST, RIM1, Munc13-1, Bassoon, and Piccolo. RIM1 and Bassoon directly bind to the COOH terminus and central region of CAST, respectively, forming a ternary complex. Piccolo, which is structurally related to Bassoon, also binds to the Bassoon-binding region of CAST. Moreover, the microinjected RIM1- or Bassoon-binding region of CAST impairs synaptic transmission in cultured superior cervical ganglion neurons. Furthermore, the CAST-binding domain of RIM1 or Bassoon also impairs synaptic transmission in the cultured neurons. These results indicate that CAST serves as a key component of the CAZ structure and is involved in neurotransmitter release by binding these CAZ proteins.

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