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Mol Biol Cell. 2014 Aug 15;25(16):2416-27. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E14-02-0702. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

Distinct fusion properties of synaptotagmin-1 and synaptotagmin-7 bearing dense core granules.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Neuroscience, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53705.
Department of Biological Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202


Adrenal chromaffin cells release hormones and neuropeptides that are essential for physiological homeostasis. During this process, secretory granules fuse with the plasma membrane and deliver their cargo to the extracellular space. It was once believed that fusion was the final regulated step in exocytosis, resulting in uniform and total release of granule cargo. Recent evidence argues for nonuniform outcomes after fusion, in which cargo is released with variable kinetics and selectivity. The goal of this study was to identify factors that contribute to the different outcomes, with a focus on the Ca(2+)-sensing synaptotagmin (Syt) proteins. Two Syt isoforms are expressed in chromaffin cells: Syt-1 and Syt-7. We find that overexpressed and endogenous Syt isoforms are usually sorted to separate secretory granules and are differentially activated by depolarizing stimuli. In addition, overexpressed Syt-1 and Syt-7 impose distinct effects on fusion pore expansion and granule cargo release. Syt-7 pores usually fail to expand (or reseal), slowing the dispersal of lumenal cargo proteins and granule membrane proteins. On the other hand, Syt-1 diffuses from fusion sites and promotes the release of lumenal cargo proteins. These findings suggest one way in which chromaffin cells may regulate cargo release is via differential activation of synaptotagmin isoforms.

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