Exocytosis and synaptic vesicle function

Ok Ho Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Synaptic vesicles release their vesicular contents to the extracellular space by Ca2+-triggered exocytosis. The Ca2+-triggered exocytotic process is regulated by synaptotagmin (Syt), a vesicular Ca2+-binding C2 domain protein. Synaptotagmin 1 (Syt1), the most studied major isoform among 16 Syt isoforms, mediates Ca2+-triggered synaptic vesicle exocytosis by interacting with the target membranes and SNARE/complexin complex. In synapses of the central nervous system, synaptobrevin 2, a major vesicular SNARE protein, forms a ternary SNARE complex with the plasma membrane SNARE proteins, syntaxin 1 and SNAP25. The affinities of Ca2+-dependent interactions between Syt1 and its targets (i.e., SNARE complexes and membranes) are well correlated with the efficacies of the corresponding exocytotic processes. Therefore, different SNARE protein isoforms and membrane lipids, which interact with Syt1 with various affinities, are capable of regulating the efficacy of Syt1-mediated exocytosis. Otoferlin, another type of vesicular C2 domain protein that binds to the membrane in a Ca2+-dependent manner, is also involved in the Ca2+-triggered synaptic vesicle exocytosis in auditory hair cells. However, the functions of otoferlin in the exocytotic process are not well understood. In addition, at least five different types of synaptic vesicle proteins such as synaptic vesicle protein 2, cysteine string protein α, rab3, synapsin, and a group of proteins containing four transmembrane regions, which includes synaptophysin, synaptogyrin, and secretory carrier membrane protein, are involved in modulating the exocytotic process by regulating the formation and trafficking of synaptic vesicles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-175
Number of pages27
JournalComprehensive Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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