ELKS, a protein structurally related to the active zone protein CAST, is involved in Ca2+-dependent exocytosis from PC12 cells

Authors


  • Communicated by: Shuh Narumiya

* Correspondence: E-mail: tohtsuka@med.u-toyama.ac.jp

Abstract

The active zone protein CAST binds directly to the other active zone proteins RIM, Bassoon and Piccolo, and it has been suggested that these protein–protein interactions play an important role in neurotransmitter release. To further elucidate the molecular mechanism, we attempted to examine the function of CAST using PC12 cells as a model system. Although PC12 cells do not express CAST, they do express ELKS, a protein structurally related to CAST. Endogenous and exogenously expressed ELKS, RIM2 and Bassoon were colocalized in punctate signals in PC12 cells. Over-expression of full-length ELKS resulted in a significant increase in stimulated exocytosis of human growth hormone (hGH) from PC12 cells, similar to the effect of full-length RIM2. This increase was not observed following over-expression of deletion constructs of ELKS that lacked either the last three amino acids (IWA) required for binding to RIM2 or a central region necessary for binding to Bassoon. Moreover, over-expression of the NH2-terminal RIM2-binding domain of Munc13-1, which is known to inhibit the binding between RIM and Munc13-1, inhibited the stimulated increase in hGH secretion by full-length RIM2. Furthermore, this construct also inhibited the stimulated increase in hGH secretion induced by full-length ELKS. These results suggest that ELKS is involved in Ca2+-dependent exocytosis from PC12 cells at least partly via the RIM2-Munc13-1 pathway.

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