Carboxypeptidase E cytoplasmic tail mediates localization of synaptic vesicles to the pre-active zone in hypothalamic pre-synaptic terminals

J Neurochem. 2010 Aug;114(3):886-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.06820.x. Epub 2010 May 18.


How synaptic vesicles (SVs) are localized to the pre-active zone (5-200 nm beneath the active zone) in the nerve terminal, which may represent the slow response SV pool, is not fully understood. Electron microscopy revealed the number of SVs located in the pre-active zone, was significantly decreased in hypothalamic neurons of carboxypeptidase E knockout (CPE-KO) mice compared with wild-type mice. Additionally, we found K(+)-stimulated glutamate secretion from hypothalamic embryonic neurons was impaired in CPE-KO mice. Biochemical studies indicate that SVs from the hypothalamus of wild-type mice and synaptic-like microvesicles from PC12 cells contain a transmembrane form of CPE, with a cytoplasmic tail (CPE(C10)), maybe involved in synaptic function. Yeast two-hybrid and pull-down experiments showed that the CPE cytoplasmic tail interacted with gamma-adducin, which binds actin enriched at the nerve terminal. Total internal reflective fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy using PC12 cells as a model showed that expression of GFP-CPE(C15) reduced the steady-state level of synaptophysin-mRFP containing synaptic-like microvesicles accumulated in the area within 200 nm from the sub-plasma membrane (TIRF zone). Our findings identify the CPE cytoplasmic tail, as a new mediator for the localization of SVs in the actin-rich pre-active zone in hypothalamic neurons and the TIRF zone of PC12 cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Carboxypeptidase H / chemistry
  • Carboxypeptidase H / genetics
  • Carboxypeptidase H / physiology*
  • Carboxypeptidase H / ultrastructure
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoplasm / chemistry
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / ultrastructure
  • Hypothalamus / enzymology*
  • Hypothalamus / ultrastructure
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • PC12 Cells
  • Presynaptic Terminals / enzymology*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / metabolism
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Synaptic Membranes / enzymology
  • Synaptic Membranes / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology
  • Synaptic Vesicles / enzymology*
  • Synaptic Vesicles / ultrastructure
  • Synaptosomes


  • Actins
  • Carboxypeptidase H