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Nature. 1991 Sep 5;353(6339):65-8.

Binding of synaptotagmin to the alpha-latrotoxin receptor implicates both in synaptic vesicle exocytosis.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75235.


A vertebrate neurotoxin, alpha-latrotoxin, from black widow spider venom causes synaptic vesicle exocytosis and neurotransmitter release from presynaptic nerve terminals. Although the mechanism of action of alpha-latrotoxin is not known, it does require binding of alpha-latrotoxin to a high-affinity receptor on the presynaptic plasma membrane. The alpha-latrotoxin receptor seems to be exclusively at the presynaptic plasmamembrane. Here we report that the alpha-latrotoxin receptor specifically binds to a synaptic vesicle protein, synaptotagmin, and modulates its phosphorylation. Synaptotagmin is a synaptic vesicle-specific membrane protein that binds negatively charged phospholipids and contains two copies of a putative Ca(2+)-binding domain from protein kinase C (the C2-domain), suggesting a regulatory role in synaptic vesicle fusion. Our findings suggest that a physiological role of the alpha-latrotoxin receptor may be the docking of synaptic vesicles at the active zone. The direct interaction of the alpha-latrotoxin receptor with a synaptic vesicle protein also suggests a mechanism of action for this toxin in causing neurotransmitter release.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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