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Neuron. 1997 Jun;18(6):925-37.

alpha-Latrotoxin stimulates exocytosis by the interaction with a neuronal G-protein-coupled receptor.

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Department of Environmental Medicine, New York University Medical Center, New York 10016, USA.


alpha-Latrotoxin is a potent stimulator of neurosecretion. Its action requires extracellular binding to high affinity presynaptic receptors. Neurexin I alpha was previously described as a high affinity alpha-latrotoxin receptor that binds the toxin only in the presence of calcium ions. Therefore, the interaction of alpha-latrotoxin with neurexin I alpha cannot explain how alpha-latrotoxin stimulates neurotransmitter release in the absence of calcium. We describe molecular cloning and functional expression of the calcium-independent receptor of alpha-latrotoxin (CIRL), which is a second high affinity alpha-latrotoxin receptor that may be the major mediator of alpha-latrotoxin's effects. CIRL appears to be a novel orphan G-protein-coupled receptor, a member of the secretin receptor family. In contrast with other known serpentine receptors, CIRL has two subunits of the 120 and 85 kDa that are the result of endogenous proteolytic cleavage of a precursor polypeptide. CIRL is found in brain where it is enriched in the striatum and cortex. Expression of CIRL in chromaffin cells increases the sensitivity of the cells to the effects of alpha-latrotoxin, demonstrating that this protein is functional in coupling to secretion. Syntaxin, a component of the fusion complex, copurifies with CIRL on an alpha-latrotoxin affinity column and forms stable complexes with this receptor in vitro. Interaction of CIRL with a specific presynaptic neurotoxin and with a component of the docking-fusion machinery suggests its role in regulation of neurosecretion.

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