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Trends Biochem Sci. 2005 Jul;30(7):367-72.

SNARE complexes and neuroexocytosis: how many, how close?

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Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche and Istituto CNR di Neuroscienze, Università di Padova, Viale G. Colombo n. 3, 35121 Padova, Italy.


Regulated secretion is an essential process in all eukaryotic cells. The release of molecules contained inside exocytic granules and synaptic vesicles is mediated by the assembly of a SNARE complex formed by the coil-coiling of three proteins: SNAP-25, syntaxin and VAMP/synaptobrevin. It seems that SNARE complexes assemble together in rosette-shaped super-complexes but there is controversy on the actual number (N) of copies of SNARE complexes that are necessary to mediate exocytosis. We discuss attempts to determine the value of N and suggest that N varies with the type of exocytic vesicles. In addition, we propose that the N value in neuroexocytosis can be estimated by the comparative use of different types of botulinum neurotoxins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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