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J Neurosci. 1999 Dec 1;19(23):10270-9.

Overexpression of cysteine-string proteins in Drosophila reveals interactions with syntaxin.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6974, USA.


Cysteine-string proteins (CSPs) are associated with secretory vesicles and critical for regulated neurotransmitter release and peptide exocytosis. At nerve terminals, CSPs have been implicated in the mediation of neurotransmitter exocytosis by modulating presynaptic calcium channels; however, studies of CSPs in peptidergic secretion suggest a direct role in exocytosis independent of calcium transmembrane fluxes. Here we show that the individual expression of various CSP isoforms in Drosophila similarly rescues the loss of evoked neurotransmitter release at csp null mutant motor nerve terminals, suggesting widely overlapping functions for each isoform. Thus, the structural difference of CSP variants may not explain the opposing putative functions of CSP in neurotransmitter and peptide exocytosis. Consistently, the individual overexpression of each CSP isoform in wild-type Drosophila shows similar effects such as impaired viability and interference with wing and eye development. The dominant effects caused by the overexpression of CSP are suppressed by the simultaneous overexpression of syntaxin-1A but not by the coexpression of SNAP-25. Although overexpression of CSP itself has no apparent effect on the synaptic physiology of larval motor nerve terminals, it fully suppresses the decrease of evoked release induced by the overexpression of syntaxin-1A. A direct protein-protein interaction of CSP with syntaxin is further supported by coimmunoprecipitations of syntaxin with CSP and by protein binding assays using recombinant fusion proteins. Together, the genetic and biochemical interactions of CSP and syntaxin-1A suggest that CSP may chaperone or modulate protein-protein interactions of syntaxin-1A with either calcium channels or other components of the regulatory machinery mediating depolarization-dependent neurotransmitter exocytosis.

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