Secretory carrier membrane proteins (SCAMPs) comprise a family of ubiquitous membrane proteins of transport vesicles with no known function. Their universal presence in all cells suggests a fundamental role in membrane traffic. SCAMPs are particularly highly expressed in organelles that undergo regulated exocytosis, such as synaptic vesicles and mast cell granules. Of the three currently known SCAMPs, SCAMP1 is the most abundant. To investigate the possible functions of SCAMP1, we generated mice that lack SCAMP1. SCAMP1- deficient mice are viable and fertile. They exhibit no changes in the overall architecture or the protein composition of the brain or alterations in peripheral organs. Capacitance measurements in mast cells demonstrated that exocytosis could be triggered reliably by GTPγS in SCAMP1-deficient cells. The initial overall capacitance of mast cells was similar between wild type and mutant mice, but the final cell capacitance after completion of exocytosis, was significantly smaller in SCAMP1-deficient cells than in wild type cells. Furthermore, there was an increased proportion of reversible fusion events, which may have caused the decrease in the overall capacitance change observed after exocytosis. Our data show that SCAMPI is not essential for exocytosis, as such, and does not determine the stability or size of secretory vesicles, but is required for the full execution of stable exocytosis in mast cells. This phenotype could be the result of a function of SCAMP1 in the formation of stable fusion pores during exocytosis or of a role of SCAMP1 in the regulation of endocytosis after formation of fusion pores.
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