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J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2006 Mar;40(3):361-74. Epub 2006 Feb 3.

Identification, localization and interaction of SNARE proteins in atrial cardiac myocytes.

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  • 1Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of Ohio, Toledo, OH 43614, USA.


Atrial cardiac myocytes secrete the vasoactive hormone atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) by both constitutive and regulated exocytotic fusion of ANP-containing large dense core vesicles (LDCV) with the sarcolemma. Detailed information, however, regarding the identity and function of specific membrane fusion proteins (SNARE proteins) involved in exocytosis in the endocrine heart is lacking. In the current study, we identified SNARE proteins and determined their association with ANP-containing secretory granules using primary cultures of neonatal and adult rat atrial cardiac myocytes. Using RT-PCR, cardiac myocytes were screened for SNARE and SNARE-associated transcripts. Identified SNARE proteins that have been implicated in exocytosis in neuroendocrine cells were further characterized by Western blot analysis. Functional interaction between SNARE proteins was demonstrated using immunoprecipitation. Using cell fractionation and immunocytochemical methods, it was revealed that VAMP-1, VAMP-2 and synaptotagmin-1 (the putative Ca(2+) sensor) localized to subpopulations of ANP-containing secretory granules in atrial myocytes. Currently, there is conflicting data regarding the role of Ca(2+) in ANP exocytosis. To judge whether secretory activity could be evoked by intracellular Ca(2+) elevation, time-resolved membrane capacitance measurements were used in combination with the flash photolysis of caged compounds to follow the exocytotic activity of single neonatal atrial myocytes. These studies demonstrated that multiple SNARE proteins are present in neonatal and adult cardiac myocytes and suggest the importance of Ca(2+) in exocytosis of ANP from neonatal atrial cardiac myocytes.

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