Aplysia VAP-33 (VAMP-associated protein) has been previously proposed to be involved in the control of neurotransmitter release. Here, we show that a Drosophila homolog of VAP-33, DVAP-33A, is localized to neuromuscular junctions. Loss of DVAP-33A causes a severe decrease in the number of boutons and a corresponding increase in bouton size. Conversely, presynaptic overexpression of DVAP-33A induces an increase in the number of boutons and a decrease in their size. Gain-of-function experiments show that the presynaptic dose of DVAP-33A tightly modulates the number of synaptic boutons. Our data also indicate that the presynaptic microtubule architecture is severely compromised in DVAP-33A mutants. We propose that a DVAP-33A-mediated interaction between microtubules and presynaptic membrane plays a pivotal role during bouton budding.
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