The BAR domain protein PICK1 controls vesicle number and size in adrenal chromaffin cells

J Neurosci. 2014 Aug 6;34(32):10688-700. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5132-13.2014.


Protein Interacting with C Kinase 1 (PICK1) is a Bin/Amphiphysin/Rvs (BAR) domain protein involved in AMPA receptor trafficking. Here, we identify a selective role for PICK1 in the biogenesis of large, dense core vesicles (LDCVs) in mouse chromaffin cells. PICK1 colocalized with syntaxin-6, a marker for immature granules. In chromaffin cells isolated from a PICK1 knockout (KO) mouse the amount of exocytosis was reduced, while release kinetics and Ca(2+) sensitivity were unaffected. Vesicle-fusion events had a reduced frequency and released lower amounts of transmitter per vesicle (i.e., reduced quantal size). This was paralleled by a reduction in the mean single-vesicle capacitance, estimated by averaging time-locked capacitance traces. EM confirmed that LDCVs were fewer and of markedly reduced size in the PICK1 KO, demonstrating that all phenotypes can be explained by reductions in vesicle number and size, whereas the fusion competence of generated vesicles was unaffected by the absence of PICK1. Viral rescue experiments demonstrated that long-term re-expression of PICK1 is necessary to restore normal vesicular content and secretion, while short-term overexpression is ineffective, consistent with an upstream role for PICK1. Disrupting lipid binding of the BAR domain (2K-E mutation) or of the PDZ domain (CC-GG mutation) was sufficient to reproduce the secretion phenotype of the null mutant. The same mutations are known to eliminate PICK1 function in receptor trafficking, indicating that the multiple functions of PICK1 involve a conserved mechanism. Summarized, our findings demonstrate that PICK1 functions in vesicle biogenesis and is necessary to maintain normal vesicle numbers and size.

Keywords: BAR domain; PICK1; adrenal chromaffin cells; amperometry; exocytosis; vesicle biogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Glands / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Catecholamines / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromaffin Cells / cytology*
  • Chromaffin Cells / ultrastructure
  • Exocytosis / genetics
  • Exocytosis / physiology*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Membrane Potentials / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Secretory Vesicles / genetics
  • Secretory Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Secretory Vesicles / ultrastructure
  • Vascular Capacitance / genetics


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Catecholamines
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Prkcabp protein, mouse
  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Calcium