JournalNeural Excitability, Synapses, and Glia

A novel region in the CaV2.1 α1 subunit C-terminus regulates fast synaptic vesicle fusion and vesicle docking at the mammalian presynaptic active zone

C-terminal deletions in CaV2.1 do not affect CaV2 abundance at the presynaptic terminal. A, Cartoons depicting CaV2.1 full transcript or mutants (top) with corresponding exemplary Ca2+ currents (bottom) triggered by 10ms voltage steps from ‑70 mV to -40 mV in 10 mV steps and further to +60 mV in 5 mV steps.

In central nervous system (CNS) synapses, action potential-evoked neurotransmitter release is principally mediated by CaV2.1 calcium channels (CaV2.1) and is highly dependent on the physical distance between CaV2.1 and synaptic vesicles (coupling). Although various active zone proteins are proposed to control coupling and abundance of CaV2.1 through direct interactions with the CaV2.1 α1 subunit C-terminus at the active zone, the role of these interaction partners is controversial. To define the intrinsic motifs that regulate coupling, we expressed mutant CaV2.1 α1 subunits on a CaV2.1 null background at the calyx of Held presynaptic terminal. Our results identified a region that directly controlled fast synaptic vesicle release and vesicle docking at the active zone independent of CaV2.1 abundance. In addition, proposed individual direct interactions with active zone proteins are insufficient for CaV2.1 abundance and coupling. Therefore, our work advances our molecular understanding of CaV2.1 regulation of neurotransmitter release in mammalian CNS synapses.


Lübbert, M., Goral, R.O., Satterfield, R., Putzke, T., Maagdenberg, A.M. van den, Kamasawa, N., and Jr, S.M.Y. (2017). A novel region in the CaV2.1 α1 subunit C-terminus regulates fast synaptic vesicle fusion and vesicle docking at the mammalian presynaptic active zone. eLife Sciences 6, e28412.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.28412.001