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Biochem J. 1997 Jul 15;325 ( Pt 2):455-63.

Ca2+-dependent interaction of the growth-associated protein GAP-43 with the synaptic core complex.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Fukuoka University School of Medicine, Nanakuma, Jonan-ku, Fukuoka 814-80, Japan.


The synaptic vesicle exocytosis occurs by a highly regulated mechanism: syntaxin and 25 kDa synaptosome-associated protein (SNAP-25) are assembled with vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP) to form a synaptic core complex and then synaptotagmin participates as a Ca2+ sensor in the final step of membrane fusion. The 43 kDa growth-associated protein GAP-43 is a nerve-specific protein that is predominantly localized in the axonal growth cones and presynaptic terminal membrane. In the present study we have examined a possible interaction of GAP-43 with components involved in the exocytosis. GAP-43 was found to interact with syntaxin, SNAP-25 and VAMP in rat brain tissues and nerve growth factor-dependently differentiated PC12 cells, but not in undifferentiated PC12 cells. GAP-43 also interacted with synaptotagmin and calmodulin. These interactions of GAP-43 could be detected only when chemical cross-linking of proteins was performed before they were solubilized from the membranes with detergents, in contrast with the interaction of the synaptic core complex, which was detected without cross-linking. Experiments in vitro showed that the interaction of GAP-43 with these proteins occurred Ca2+-dependently; its maximum binding with the core complex was observed at 100 microM Ca2+, whereas that of syntaxin with synaptotagmin was at 200 microM Ca2+. These values of Ca2+ concentration are close to that required for the Ca2+-dependent release of neurotransmitters. Furthermore we observed that the interaction in vitro of GAP-43 with the synaptic core complex was coupled with protein kinase C-mediated phosphorylation of GAP-43. Taken together, our results suggest a novel function of GAP-43 that is involved in the Ca2+-dependent fusion of synaptic vesicles.

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