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Neuron. 2002 Dec 5;36(5):897-908.

Synaptotagmin I functions as a calcium sensor to synchronize neurotransmitter release.

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Picower Center for Learning and Memory, Cambridge, MA, USA.


To characterize Ca(2+)-mediated synaptic vesicle fusion, we analyzed Drosophila synaptotagmin I mutants deficient in specific interactions mediated by its two Ca(2+) binding C2 domains. In the absence of synaptotagmin I, synchronous release is abolished and a kinetically distinct delayed asynchronous release pathway is uncovered. Synapses containing only the C2A domain of synaptotagmin partially recover synchronous fusion, but have an abolished Ca(2+) cooperativity. Mutants that disrupt Ca(2+) sensing by the C2B domain have synchronous release with normal Ca(2+) cooperativity, but with reduced release probability. Our data suggest the Ca(2+) cooperativity of neurotransmitter release is likely mediated through synaptotagmin-SNARE interactions, while phospholipid binding and oligomerization trigger rapid fusion with increased release probability. These results indicate that synaptotagmin is the major Ca(2+) sensor for evoked release and functions to trigger synchronous fusion in response to Ca(2+), while suppressing asynchronous release.

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