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J Biol Chem. 2008 Sep 26;283(39):26461-7. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M801625200. Epub 2008 Jul 29.

RIBEYE recruits Munc119, a mammalian ortholog of the Caenorhabditis elegans protein unc119, to synaptic ribbons of photoreceptor synapses.

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Department of Neuroanatomy, Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology, Saarland University, Medical School Homburg/Saar, 66421 Homburg/Saar, Germany.


Munc119 (also denoted as RG4) is a mammalian ortholog of the Caenorhabditis elegans protein unc119 and is essential for vision and synaptic transmission at photoreceptor ribbon synapses by unknown molecular mechanisms. Munc119/RG4 is related to the prenyl-binding protein PrBP/delta and expressed at high levels in photoreceptor ribbon synapses. Synaptic ribbons are presynaptic specializations in the active zone of these tonically active synapses and contain RIBEYE as a unique and major component. In the present study, we identified Munc119 as a RIBEYE-interacting protein at photoreceptor ribbon synapses using five independent approaches. The PrBP/delta homology domain of Munc119 is essential for the interaction with the NADH binding region of RIBEYE(B) domain. But RIBEYE-Munc119 interaction does not depend on NADH binding. A RIBEYE point mutant (RE(B)E844Q) that no longer interacted with Munc119 still bound NADH, arguing that binding of Munc119 and NADH to RIBEYE are independent from each other. Our data indicate that Munc119 is a synaptic ribbon-associated component. We show that Munc119 can be recruited to synaptic ribbons via its interaction with RIBEYE. Our data suggest that the RIBEYE-Munc119 interaction is essential for synaptic transmission at the photoreceptor ribbon synapse.

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