Multiple kinetic components of exocytosis distinguished by neurotoxin sensitivity

Nat Neurosci. 1998 Jul;1(3):192-200. doi: 10.1038/642.


The secretion of synaptic and other vesicles is a complex process involving multiple steps. Many molecular components of the secretory apparatus have been identified, but how they relate to the different stages of vesicle release is not clear. We examined this issue in adrenal chromaffin cells, where capacitance measurements and amperometry allow us to measure vesicle fusion and hormone release simultaneously. Using flash photolysis of caged intracellular calcium to induce exocytosis, we observed three distinct kinetic components to vesicle fusion, of which only two are related to catecholamine release. Intracellular dialysis with botulinum neurotoxin E, D or C1 or tetanus-toxin light chains abolishes the catecholamine-related components, but leaves the third component untouched. Botulinum neurotoxin A, which removes nine amino acids from the carboxy(C)-terminal end of SNAP-25, does not eliminate catecholamine release completely, but slows down both catecholamine-related components. Thus we assign a dual role to SNAP-25 and suggest that its nine C-terminal amino acids are directly involved in coupling the calcium sensor to the final step in exocytosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / physiology
  • Animals
  • Botulinum Toxins / pharmacology*
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Cattle
  • Chromaffin Cells / physiology
  • Drug Resistance
  • Exocytosis / physiology*
  • Kinetics
  • Membrane Proteins*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology
  • Synaptosomal-Associated Protein 25
  • Tetanus Toxin / pharmacology*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Synaptosomal-Associated Protein 25
  • Tetanus Toxin
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Botulinum Toxins
  • Calcium