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Curr Biol. 2005 Dec 20;15(24):2243-8. Epub 2005 Nov 3.

Identification of the minimal protein domain required for priming activity of Munc13-1.

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Physiologisches Institut, Universit├Ąt des Saarlandes, Kirrberger Str. 8, D-66421 Homburg/Saar, Germany.


Most nerve cells communicate with each other through synaptic transmission at chemical synapses. The regulated exocytosis of neurotransmitters, hormones, and peptides occurs at specialized membrane areas through Ca2+-triggered fusion of secretory vesicles with the plasma membrane . Prior to fusion, vesicles are docked at the plasma membrane and must then be rendered fusion-competent through a process called priming. The molecular mechanism underlying this priming process is most likely the formation of the SNARE complex consisting of Syntaxin 1, SNAP-25, and Synaptobrevin 2. Members of the Munc13 protein family consisting of Munc13-1, -2, -3, and -4 were found to be absolutely required for this priming process . In the present study, we identified the minimal Munc13-1 domain that is responsible for its priming activity. Using Munc13-1 deletion constructs in an electrophysiological gain-of-function assay of chromaffin-granule secretion, we show that priming activity is mediated by the C-terminal residues 1100-1735 of Munc13-1, which contains both Munc13-homology domains and the C-terminal C2 domain. Priming by Munc13-1 appears to require its interaction with Syntaxin 1 because point mutants that do not bind Syntaxin 1 do not prime chromaffin granules.

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