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Nat Cell Biol. 2000 Jan;2(1):42-9.

Cholesterol binds to synaptophysin and is required for biogenesis of synaptic vesicles.

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Department of Neurobiology, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 364, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


Here, to study lipid-protein interactions that contribute to the biogenesis of regulated secretory vesicles, we have developed new approaches by which to label proteins in vivo, using photoactivatable cholesterol and glycerophospholipids. We identify synaptophysin as a major specifically cholesterol-binding protein in PC12 cells and brain synaptic vesicles. Limited cholesterol depletion, which has little effect on total endocytic activity, blocks the biogenesis of synaptic-like microvesicles (SLMVs) from the plasma membrane. We propose that specific interactions between cholesterol and SLMV membrane proteins, such as synaptophysin, contribute to both the segregation of SLMV membrane constituents from plasma-membrane constituents, and the induction of synaptic-vesicle curvature.

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