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J Neurosci. 1997 Sep 1;17(17):6647-56.

Alteration of Ca2+ dependence of neurotransmitter release by disruption of Ca2+ channel/syntaxin interaction.

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Department of Membrane Biophysics, Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.


Presynaptic N-type calcium channels interact with syntaxin and synaptosome-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25) through a binding site in the intracellular loop connecting domains II and III of the alpha1 subunit. This binding region was loaded into embryonic spinal neurons of Xenopus by early blastomere injection. After culturing, synaptic transmission of peptide-loaded and control cells was compared by measuring postsynaptic responses under different external Ca2+ concentrations. The relative transmitter release of injected neurons was reduced by approximately 25% at physiological Ca2+ concentration, whereas injection of the corresponding region of the L-type Ca2+ channel had virtually no effect. When applied to a theoretical model, these results imply that 70% of the formerly linked vesicles have been uncoupled after action of the peptide. Our data suggest that severing the physical interaction between presynaptic calcium channels and synaptic proteins will not prevent synaptic transmission at this synapse but will make it less efficient by shifting its Ca2+ dependence to higher values.

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