The plasma membrane soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) proteins syntaxin and synaptosome-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP25) and the vesicle SNARE protein vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP) are essential for a late Ca(2+)-dependent step in regulated exocytosis, but their precise roles and regulation by Ca(2+) are poorly understood. Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) E, a protease that cleaves SNAP25 at Arg(180)-Ile(181), completely inhibits this late step in PC12 cell membranes, whereas BoNT A, which cleaves SNAP25 at Gln(197)-Arg(198), is only partially inhibitory. The difference in toxin effectiveness was found to result from a reversal of BoNT A but not BoNT E inhibition by elevated Ca(2+) concentrations. BoNT A treatment essentially increased the Ca(2+) concentration required to activate exocytosis, which suggested a role for the C terminus of SNAP25 in the Ca(2+) regulation of exocytosis. Synaptotagmin, a proposed Ca(2+) sensor for exocytosis, was found to bind SNAP25 in a Ca(2+)-stimulated manner. Ca(2+)-dependent binding was abolished by BoNT E treatment, whereas BoNT A treatment increased the Ca(2+) concentration required for binding. The C terminus of SNAP25 was also essential for Ca(2+)-dependent synaptotagmin binding to SNAP25. syntaxin and SNAP25.syntaxin.VAMP SNARE complexes. These results clarify classical observations on the Ca(2+) reversal of BoNT A inhibition of neurosecretion, and they suggest that an essential role for the C terminus of SNAP25 in regulated exocytosis is to mediate Ca(2+)-dependent interactions between synaptotagmin and SNARE protein complexes.
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