The synaptic vesicle proteome

J Neurochem. 2007 Jun;101(6):1448-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2007.04453.x. Epub 2007 Mar 9.


Synaptic vesicles are key organelles in neurotransmission. Vesicle integral or membrane-associated proteins mediate the various functions the organelle fulfills during its life cycle. These include organelle transport, interaction with the nerve terminal cytoskeleton, uptake and storage of low molecular weight constituents, and the regulated interaction with the pre-synaptic plasma membrane during exo- and endocytosis. Within the past two decades, converging work from several laboratories resulted in the molecular and functional characterization of the proteinaceous inventory of the synaptic vesicle compartment. However, up until recently and due to technical difficulties, it was impossible to screen the entire organelle thoroughly. Recent advances in membrane protein identification and mass spectrometry (MS) have dramatically promoted this field. A comparison of different techniques for elucidating the proteinaceous composition of synaptic vesicles revealed numerous overlaps but also remarkable differences in the protein constituents of the synaptic vesicle compartment, indicating that several protein separation techniques in combination with differing MS approaches are required to identify and characterize the synaptic vesicle proteome. This review highlights the power of various gel separation techniques and MS analyses for the characterization of the proteome of highly purified synaptic vesicles. Furthermore, the newly detected protein assignments to synaptic vesicles, especially those proteins which are new to the inventory of the synaptic vesicle proteome, are critically discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clathrin-Coated Vesicles / chemistry*
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / analysis*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis*
  • Neurotransmitter Transport Proteins / analysis
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms / analysis
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Synaptic Vesicles / chemistry*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurotransmitter Transport Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Proteome
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • GTP-Binding Proteins