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Neuron. 2006 Aug 3;51(3):303-15.

Antagonistic regulation of synaptic vesicle priming by Tomosyn and UNC-13.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Simches Research Building, Seventh Floor, 185 Cambridge Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


Priming of synaptic vesicles (SVs) is essential for synaptic transmission. UNC-13 proteins are required for priming. Current models propose that UNC-13 stabilizes the open conformation of Syntaxin, in which the SNARE helix is available for interactions with Synaptobrevin and SNAP-25. Here we show that Tomosyn inhibits SV priming. Tomosyn contains a SNARE motif, which forms an inhibitory SNARE complex with Syntaxin and SNAP-25. Mutants lacking Tomosyn have increased synaptic transmission, an increased pool of primed vesicles, and increased abundance of UNC-13 at synapses. Behavioral, imaging, and electrophysiological studies suggest that SV priming was reconstituted in unc-13 mutants by expressing a constitutively open mutant Syntaxin, or by mutations eliminating Tomosyn. Thus, priming is modulated by the balance between Tomosyn and UNC-13, perhaps by regulating the availability of open-Syntaxin. Even when priming was restored, synaptic transmission remained defective in unc-13 mutants, suggesting that UNC-13 is also required for other aspects of secretion.

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