An Epilepsy-Associated SV2A Mutation Disrupts Synaptotagmin-1 Expression and Activity-Dependent Trafficking

J Neurosci. 2020 Jun 3;40(23):4586-4595. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0210-20.2020. Epub 2020 Apr 27.


The epilepsy-linked gene SV2A, has a number of potential roles in the synaptic vesicle (SV) life cycle. However, how loss of SV2A function translates into presynaptic dysfunction and ultimately seizure activity is still undetermined. In this study, we examined whether the first SV2A mutation identified in human disease (R383Q) could provide information regarding which SV2A-dependent events are critical in the translation to epilepsy. We utilized a molecular replacement strategy in which exogenous SV2A was expressed in mouse neuronal cultures of either sex, which had been depleted of endogenous SV2A to mimic the homozygous human condition. We found that the R383Q mutation resulted in a mislocalization of SV2A from SVs to the plasma membrane, but had no effect on its activity-dependent trafficking. This SV2A mutant displayed reduced mobility when stranded on the plasma membrane and reduced binding to its interaction partner synaptotagmin-1 (Syt1). Furthermore, the R383Q mutant failed to rescue reduced expression and dysfunctional activity-dependent trafficking of Syt1 in the absence of endogenous SV2A. This suggests that the inability to control Syt1 expression and trafficking at the presynapse may be key in the transition from loss of SV2A function to seizure activity.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT SV2A is a synaptic vesicle (SV) protein, the absence or dysfunction of which is linked to epilepsy. However, the series of molecular events that result in this neurological disorder is still undetermined. We demonstrate here that the first human mutation in SV2A identified in an individual with epilepsy displays reduced binding to synaptotagmin-1 (Syt1), an SV protein essential for synchronous neurotransmitter release. Furthermore, this mutant cannot correct alterations in both Syt1 expression and trafficking when expressed in the absence of endogenous SV2A (to mimic the homozygous human condition). This suggests that the inability to control Syt1 expression and trafficking may be key in the transition from loss of SV2A function to seizure activity.

Keywords: SV2A; endocytosis; epilepsy; exocytosis; synaptotagmin; vesicle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epilepsy / genetics*
  • Epilepsy / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / deficiency
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mutation, Missense / physiology*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / deficiency
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Protein Transport / physiology*
  • Synaptotagmin I / biosynthesis*
  • Synaptotagmin I / genetics*


  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Sv2a protein, mouse
  • Synaptotagmin I
  • Syt1 protein, mouse