Synaptotagmin Home Page
What are synaptotagmins? The synaptotagmins are a family of proteins with an N-terminal transmembrane domain and two cytoplasmic C2 domains (see family members). Many C2 domains mediate calcium-dependent binding to negatively charged membranes. Synaptotagmin-1 is localized to synaptic vesicles and is the trigger for their calcium-induced exocytosis. The two C2 domains of synaptotagmin-1 insert into the membrane upon calcium binding.
How do we think synaptotagmin-1 induces membrane fusion? When bound to calcium the two C2 domains insert into the membrane (see model). Shallow insertions into the membrane cause the induction of positive membrane curvature seen as tubulation (see epsin1 pages). We proposed that synaptotagmin promotes synaptic vesicle insertion by the local buckling of the plasma membrane under the synaptic vesicle which is tethered to the plasma membrane by the SNARE complex. The synaptotagmin-1 induced buckling of the plasma membrane brings the two membranes destined to fuse into close proximity and further induces curvature stress in the buckle end cap. Both effects will strongly increase the probability of membrane fusion.
Calculation: A 17nm dimple will reduce the energy for hemifusion stalk formation from 40kBT to 20kBT
How do synaptotagmins and SNARE proteins work together? SNARE proteins contain motifs that fold into a stable 4 helix bundle pulling the vesicle into close proximity with the plasma membrane (as seen in the pictures below).
1. Vesicle meets cognate membrane
Further questions and outlook:
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