Actin and tubulin binding domains of synapsins Ia and Ib

Biochemistry. 1991 Jan 15;30(2):413-22. doi: 10.1021/bi00216a016.


Synapsins Ia and Ib are neuronal phosphoproteins involved with the regulated clustering of small synaptic vesicles at the presynaptic terminus. In vitro they bind and bundle filaments of both actin and tubulin. Previously, we identified an actin binding domain in the NH2-terminal 25-kDa fragment (N25) generated by 2-nitro-5-thiocyanobenzoic acid (NTCB) cleavage of synapsin I and found that a complementary COOH-terminal 52-kDa portion of the molecule (N52) contained either a second actin binding site or a site of self-association [Petrucci, T. P., & Morrow, J. S. (1987) J. Cell. Biol. 105, 1355]. Using direct binding assays between actin, tubulin, and specific synapsin NTCB-derived peptides, we confirm the ability of purified N25 to bind but not bundle actin and demonstrate that the complementary N52 (or N50) fragments from synapsins Ia and Ib and a 14-kDa fragment derived from the middle of the molecule also associate directly with actin. An antibody specific for N25 inhibits the actin binding activity of N25 and the actin bundling but not the actin binding activity of intact synapsin I. Similar studies conducted with purified tubulin and tubulin immobilized on Sepharose demonstrate that both tubulin and actin bind at approximately the same sites in the NH2-terminal half of synapsin I. Although the fragments derived from the COOH terminus of both synapsin Ia and synapsin Ib (N40b/N34) were devoid of measurable actin binding activity after NTCB cleavage, they were specifically labeled in the intact molecule by a photoactivated cross-linker bound to F-actin. Collectively, these results indicate that synapsins Ia and Ib possess two actin and tubulin binding domains located in the NH2-terminal half of the molecule and suggest that a third actin binding domain is located in the COOH-terminal region. The NH2-terminal sites are found in NTCB peptides N25 and N14, while the third site, apparently of lower affinity, resides in N40b/N34. It is hypothesized that, in the intact molecule, the two NH2-terminal domains contribute to a single high-affinity actin and/or tubulin binding site in the "globular" head region of synapsin I, while the third actin binding domain constitutes the topographically distinct site required for the actin bundling activity of the native molecule. The 45-residue COOH extension that distinguishes synapsin Ia from synapsin Ib appears not to be involved with actin binding, since no differences were found in the ability of N40b and N34 to be photo-cross-linked to actin.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cattle
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Immunologic Techniques
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / chemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Phosphoproteins / chemistry
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism*
  • Photochemistry
  • Protein Binding
  • Synapsins
  • Synaptic Vesicles / metabolism
  • Thiocyanates / chemistry
  • Tubulin / metabolism*


  • Actins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Synapsins
  • Thiocyanates
  • Tubulin
  • 2-nitro-5-thiocyanobenzoic acid