SVOP, an evolutionarily conserved synaptic vesicle protein, suggests novel transport functions of synaptic vesicles

J Neurosci. 1998 Nov 15;18(22):9269-81. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.18-22-09269.1998.


We describe a novel synaptic vesicle protein called SVOP that is distantly related to the synaptic vesicle proteins SV2A, SV2B, and SV2C (20-22% sequence identity). Both SVOP and SV2 contain 12 transmembrane regions. However, SV2 is highly glycosylated, whereas SVOP is not. Databank searches revealed that closely related homologs of SVOP are present in Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila (48% sequence identity), suggesting that SVOP is evolutionarily ancient. In contrast, no invertebrate orthologs of SV2 were detected. The sequences of SVOP and SV2 exhibit homology with transport proteins, in particular with mammalian organic cation and anion transporters. SVOP and SV2 are more distantly related to eukaryotic and bacterial phosphate, sugar, and organic acid transporters. SVOP is expressed at detectable levels only in brain and endocrine cells where it is primarily localized to synaptic vesicles and microvesicles. SVOP is present in all brain regions, with particularly high levels in large pyramidal neurons of the cerebral cortex. Immunocytochemical staining of adjacent rat brain sections for SVOP and SV2 demonstrated that SVOP and SV2 are probably coexpressed in most neurons. Although the functions of SV2 and SVOP remain obscure, the evolutionary conservation of SVOP, its hydrophobic nature, and its homology to transporters strongly support a role in the uptake of a novel, as yet unidentified component of synaptic vesicles. Thus synaptic vesicles contain two classes of abundant proteins with 12 transmembrane regions that are related to transporters, nonglycosylated SVOP and highly glycosylated SV2, suggesting that the transport functions of synaptic vesicles may be more complex than currently envisioned.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Glands / cytology
  • Animals
  • Antibodies
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • COS Cells
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / immunology
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chromaffin Cells / chemistry
  • Chromaffin Cells / metabolism
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Conserved Sequence*
  • Drosophila
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Proteins / immunology
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / genetics
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rats
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Subcellular Fractions / chemistry
  • Synaptic Vesicles / chemistry*
  • Synaptic Vesicles / metabolism*
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins*


  • Antibodies
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Sv2a protein, rat
  • Sv2b protein, mouse
  • Sv2b protein, rat
  • Svop protein, rat
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF060173
  • GENBANK/AF060174