Distinct pools of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) Glass bottom boat (Gbb) control structure and function of the Drosophila neuromuscular junction. Specifically, motoneuron-derived Gbb regulates baseline neurotransmitter release, whereas muscle-derived Gbb regulates neuromuscular junction growth. Yet how cells differentiate between these ligand pools is not known. Here we present evidence that the neuronal Gbb-binding protein Crimpy (Cmpy) permits discrimination of pre- and postsynaptic ligand by serving sequential functions in Gbb signaling. Cmpy first delivers Gbb to dense core vesicles (DCVs) for activity-dependent release from presynaptic terminals. In the absence of Cmpy, Gbb is no longer associated with DCVs and is not released by activity. Electrophysiological analyses demonstrate that Cmpy promotes Gbb's proneurotransmission function. Surprisingly, the Cmpy ectodomain is itself released upon DCV exocytosis, arguing that Cmpy serves a second function in BMP signaling. In addition to trafficking Gbb to DCVs, we propose that Gbb/Cmpy corelease from presynaptic terminals defines a neuronal protransmission signal.
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