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J Neurochem. 1999 Feb;72(2):614-24.

Differential phosphorylation of syntaxin and synaptosome-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25) isoforms.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.


The synaptic plasma membrane proteins syntaxin and synaptosome-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25) are central participants in synaptic vesicle trafficking and neurotransmitter release. Together with the synaptic vesicle protein synaptobrevin/vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP), they serve as receptors for the general membrane trafficking factors N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF) and soluble NSF attachment protein (alpha-SNAP). Consequently, syntaxin, SNAP-25, and VAMP (and their isoforms in other membrane trafficking pathways) have been termed SNAP receptors (SNAREs). Because protein phosphorylation is a common and important mechanism for regulating a variety of cellular processes, including synaptic transmission, we have investigated the ability of syntaxin and SNAP-25 isoforms to serve as substrates for a variety of serine/threonine protein kinases. Syntaxins 1 A and 4 were phosphorylated by casein kinase II, whereas syntaxin 3 and SNAP-25 were phosphorylated by Ca2+- and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II and cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase, respectively. The biochemical consequences of SNARE protein phosphorylation included a reduced interaction between SNAP-25 and phosphorylated syntaxin 4 and an enhanced interaction between phosphorylated syntaxin 1A and the synaptic vesicle protein synaptotagmin I, a potential Ca2+ sensor in triggering synaptic vesicle exocytosis. No other effects on the formation of SNARE complexes (comprised of syntaxin, SNAP-25, and VAMP) or interactions involving n-Sec1 or alpha-SNAP were observed. These findings suggest that although phosphorylation does not directly regulate the assembly of the synaptic SNARE complex, it may serve to modulate SNARE complex function through other proteins, including synaptotagmin I.

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