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Eur J Immunol. 2008 Mar;38(3):855-63. doi: 10.1002/eji.200737634.

Vesicle associated membrane protein (VAMP)-7 and VAMP-8, but not VAMP-2 or VAMP-3, are required for activation-induced degranulation of mature human mast cells.

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Institute of Nutritional Medicine, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany.


Mediator release from mast cells (MC) is a crucial step in allergic and non-allergic inflammatory disorders. However, the final events in response to activation leading to membrane fusion and thereby facilitating degranulation have hitherto not been analyzed in human MC. Soluble N-ethyl-maleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (SNARE) represent a highly conserved family of proteins that have been shown to mediate intracellular membrane fusion events. Here, we show that mature MC isolated from human intestinal tissue express soluble N-ethylmaleide sensitive factor attachment protein (SNAP)-23, Syntaxin (STX)-1B, STX-2, STX-3, STX-4, and STX-6 but not SNAP-25. Furthermore, we found that primary human MC express substantial amounts of vesicle associated membrane protein (VAMP)-3, VAMP-7 and VAMP-8 and, in contrast to previous reports about rodent MC, only low levels of VAMP-2. Furthermore, VAMP-7 and VAMP-8 were found to translocate to the plasma membrane and interact with SNAP-23 and STX-4 upon activation. Inhibition of SNAP-23, STX-4, VAMP-7 or VAMP-8, but not VAMP-2 or VAMP-3, resulted in a markedly reduced high-affinity IgE receptor-mediated histamine release. In summary, our data show that mature human MC express a specific pattern of SNARE and that VAMP-7 and VAMP-8, but not VAMP-2, are required for rapid degranulation.

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