Neurotransmitter release machinery: Components of the neuronal snare complex and their function

Deniz Atasoy, Ege T. Kavalali

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Membrane fusion is a critical process for vesicle trafficking and intercellular communication in eukaryotes. Fusion of lipid bilayers is an endothermic reaction. It requires specialized proteins to bring two membranes in close proximity to overcome electrostatic forces derived from charged lipid head groups. Once the membranes are in close proximity, the boundary between hydrophilic and hydrophobic parts of the bilayer has to be destabilized. This destabilization may either lead to a complete merger of the two bilayers forming a fusion pore or may result in a hemifusion intermediate before complete opening of a fusion pore (61) (Fig. 1). Synaptic transmission requires fusion of neurotransmitter filled synaptic vesicles with the plasma membrane. Synaptic vesicle fusion is typically driven by the Ca2+ influx triggered by action potential mediated depolarization of a presynaptic nerve terminal. Transmitter release is restricted to a specialized region on the nerve terminal known as the active zone, which can be easily identified in electron micrographs due to its high electron density. Synaptic vesicles dock at the active zone in the vicinity of voltage gated Ca2+ channels and upon action potential arrival, Ca2+ influx through these channels drive vesicle fusion with a time course of less than 100 microseconds (69). In addition, synaptic vesicles can also fuse spontaneously albeit at a very low probability (~1 vesicle per minute per active zone) (29, 52). The last two decades have witnessed major leaps in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying neurotransmitter release (43, 66, 67, 83). These studies have identified several molecular components of the synaptic vesicle fusion machinery that are critical for neurotransmission. A core group of these proteins are called SNAREs (acronym for soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStructural And Functional Organization Of The Synapse
PublisherSpringer US
Pages91-110
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780387772318
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

Fingerprint

Synaptic Vesicles
Neurotransmitter Agents
Synaptic Transmission
Action Potentials
Soluble N-Ethylmaleimide-Sensitive Factor Attachment Proteins
Electrons
SNARE Proteins
Membrane Fusion
Membranes
Presynaptic Terminals
Lipid Bilayers
Eukaryota
Static Electricity
Cell Membrane
Lipids
Proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Atasoy, D., & Kavalali, E. T. (2008). Neurotransmitter release machinery: Components of the neuronal snare complex and their function. In Structural And Functional Organization Of The Synapse (pp. 91-110). Springer US. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-77232-5_4

Neurotransmitter release machinery : Components of the neuronal snare complex and their function. / Atasoy, Deniz; Kavalali, Ege T.

Structural And Functional Organization Of The Synapse. Springer US, 2008. p. 91-110.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Atasoy, D & Kavalali, ET 2008, Neurotransmitter release machinery: Components of the neuronal snare complex and their function. in Structural And Functional Organization Of The Synapse. Springer US, pp. 91-110. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-77232-5_4
Atasoy D, Kavalali ET. Neurotransmitter release machinery: Components of the neuronal snare complex and their function. In Structural And Functional Organization Of The Synapse. Springer US. 2008. p. 91-110 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-77232-5_4
Atasoy, Deniz ; Kavalali, Ege T. / Neurotransmitter release machinery : Components of the neuronal snare complex and their function. Structural And Functional Organization Of The Synapse. Springer US, 2008. pp. 91-110
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