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Nat Neurosci. 2011 Apr;14(4):411-3. doi: 10.1038/nn.2774. Epub 2011 Mar 6.

Exocytosis at the hair cell ribbon synapse apparently operates without neuronal SNARE proteins.

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InnerEarLab, Department of Otolaryngology and Center for Molecular Physiology of the Brain, University of Göttingen Medical Center, Göttingen, Germany.


SNARE proteins mediate membrane fusion. Neurosecretion depends on neuronal soluble NSF attachment protein receptors (SNAREs; SNAP-25, syntaxin-1, and synaptobrevin-1 or synaptobrevin-2) and is blocked by neurotoxin-mediated cleavage or genetic ablation. We found that exocytosis in mouse inner hair cells (IHCs) was insensitive to neurotoxins and genetic ablation of neuronal SNAREs. mRNA, but no synaptically localized protein, of neuronal SNAREs was present in IHCs. Thus, IHC exocytosis is unconventional and may operate independently of neuronal SNAREs.

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