1932

Abstract

α-Latrotoxin, a potent neurotoxin from black widow spider venom, triggers synaptic vesicle exocytosis from presynaptic nerve terminals. α-Latrotoxin is a large protein toxin (120 kDa) that contains 22 ankyrin repeats. In stimulating exocytosis, α-latrotoxin binds to two distinct families of neuronal cell-surface receptors, neurexins and CLs (Cirl/latrophilins), which probably have a physiological function in synaptic cell adhesion. Binding of α-latrotoxin to these receptors does not in itself trigger exocytosis but serves to recruit the toxin to the synapse. Receptor-bound α-latrotoxin then inserts into the presynaptic plasma membrane to stimulate exocytosis by two distinct transmitter-specific mechanisms. Exocytosis of classical neurotransmitters (glutamate, GABA, acetylcholine) is induced in a calcium-independent manner by a direct intracellular action of α-latrotoxin, while exocytosis of catecholamines requires extracellular calcium. Elucidation of precisely how α-latrotoxin works is likely to provide major insight into how synaptic vesicle exocytosis is regulated, and how the release machineries of classical and catecholaminergic neurotransmitters differ.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.neuro.24.1.933
2001-03-01
2024-07-18
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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