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J Biol Chem. 1998 Sep 18;273(38):24355-9.

Increased association of synaptosome-associated protein of 25 kDa with syntaxin and vesicle-associated membrane protein following acrosomal exocytosis of sea urchin sperm.

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Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0202, USA.


Synaptosomal-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25) is a palmitoylated integral membrane protein expressed almost exclusively in neuronal and neuroendocrine tissues. This protein forms a ternary complex with vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP) and syntaxin, which is thought to regulate the fusion of plasma and vesicle membranes during exocytosis. We report the identification of SNAP-25 expressed in sea urchin sperm. Sea urchin SNAP-25 shares greater identity with mammalian SNAP-25 than with mammalian SNAP-23, a ubiquitously expressed homologue believed to regulate membrane fusion in non-neuronal tissues. Sea urchin sperm contain a single exocytotic vesicle, the acrosomal vesicle, whose contents are exposed during the acrosome reaction. Fusion of the plasma membrane with the acrosomal vesicle membrane at multiple points (vesiculation) results in the release of SNAP-25 with the shed acrosome reaction vesicles. A complex containing SNAP-25, syntaxin, and VAMP is present in sperm, as detected by affinity chromatography and immunoprecipitation. Although this complex is present prior to the acrosome reaction, the amount of complex increases over 4-fold following acrosomal exocytosis. These findings support the involvement of SNAP-25 in the invertebrate sperm acrosome reaction, possibly through increased association with VAMP and syntaxin driving the fusion of plasma and acrosomal membranes.

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