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Neuron. 2012 Apr 12;74(1):151-65. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.02.019.

Motorneurons require cysteine string protein-α to maintain the readily releasable vesicular pool and synaptic vesicle recycling.

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Universidad de Sevilla and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red sobre Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas-CIBERNED, 41013 Sevilla, Spain.


Cysteine string protein-α (CSP-α) is a synaptic vesicle protein that prevents activity-dependent neurodegeneration by poorly understood mechanisms. We have studied the synaptic vesicle cycle at the motor nerve terminals of CSP-α knock-out mice expressing the synaptopHluorin transgene. Mutant nerve terminals fail to sustain prolonged release and the number of vesicles available to be released decreases. Strikingly, the SNARE protein SNAP-25 is dramatically reduced. In addition, endocytosis during the stimulus fails to maintain the size of the recycling synaptic vesicle pool during prolonged stimulation. Upon depolarization, the styryl dye FM 2-10 becomes trapped and poorly releasable. Consistently with the functional results, electron microscopy analysis revealed characteristic features of impaired synaptic vesicle recycling. The unexpected defect in vesicle recycling in CSP-α knock-out mice provides insights into understanding molecular mechanisms of degeneration in motor nerve terminals.

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