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J Biol Chem. 2007 Mar 30;282(13):9635-45. Epub 2007 Feb 1.

Pancreatic acinar cells express vesicle-associated membrane protein 2- and 8-specific populations of zymogen granules with distinct and overlapping roles in secretion.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Previous studies have demonstrated roles for vesicle-associated membrane protein 2 (VAMP 2) and VAMP 8 in Ca(2+)-regulated pancreatic acinar cell secretion, however, their coordinated function in the secretory pathway has not been addressed. Here we provide evidence using immunofluorescence microscopy, cell fractionation, and SNARE protein interaction studies that acinar cells contain two distinct populations of zymogen granules (ZGs) expressing either VAMP 2 or VAMP 8. Further, VAMP 8-positive granules also contain the synaptosome-associated protein 29, whereas VAMP 2-expressing granules do not. Analysis of acinar secretion by Texas red-dextran labeling indicated that VAMP 2-positive ZGs mediate the majority of exocytotic events during constitutive secretion and also participate in Ca(2+)-regulated exocytosis, whereas VAMP 8-positive ZGs are more largely involved in Ca(2+)-stimulated secretion. Previously undefined functional roles for VAMP and syntaxin isoforms in acinar secretion were established by introducing truncated constructs of these proteins into permeabilized acini. VAMP 2 and VAMP 8 constructs each attenuated Ca(2+)-stimulated exocytosis by 50%, whereas the neuronal VAMP 1 had no effects. In comparison, the plasma membrane SNAREs syntaxin 2 and syntaxin 4 each inhibited basal exocytosis, but only syntaxin 4 significantly inhibited Ca(2+)-stimulated secretion. Syntaxin 3, which is expressed on ZGs, had no effects. Collectively, these data demonstrate that individual acinar cells express VAMP 2- and VAMP 8-specific populations of ZGs that orchestrate the constitutive and Ca(2+)-regulated secretory pathways.

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