Specificity of Ca2+-dependent protein interactions mediated by the C2A domains of synaptotagmins.


PubMedID: 10715114

Sugita S, Südhof TC. Specificity of Ca2+-dependent protein interactions mediated by the C2A domains of synaptotagmins. Biochemistry. 2000;39(11):2940-9.
Synaptotagmins represent a family of neuronal proteins thought to function in membrane traffic. The best characterized synaptotagmin, synaptotagmin I, is essential for fast Ca2+-dependent synaptic vesicle exocytosis, indicating a role in the Ca2+ triggering of membrane fusion. Synaptotagmins contain two C2 domains, the C2A and C2B domains, which bind Ca2+ and may mediate their functions by binding to specific targets. For synaptotagmin I, several putative targets have been identified, including the SNARE proteins syntaxin and SNAP-25. However, it is unclear which of the many binding proteins are physiologically relevant. Furthermore, more than 10 highly homologous synaptotagmins are expressed in brain, but it is unknown if they execute similar binding reactions. To address these questions, we have performed a systematic, unbiased study of proteins which bind to the C2A domains of synaptotagmins I-VII. Although the various C2A domains exhibit similar binding activities for phospholipids and syntaxin, we found that they differ greatly in their protein binding patterns. Surprisingly, none of the previously characterized binding proteins for synaptotagmin I are among the major interacting proteins identified. Instead, several proteins that were not known to interact with synaptotagmin I were bound tightly and stoichiometrically, most prominently the NSF homologue VCP, which is thought to be involved in membrane fusion, and an unknown protein of 40 kDa. Point mutations in the Ca2+ binding loops of the C2A domain revealed that the interactions of these proteins with synaptotagmin I were highly specific. Furthermore, a synaptotagmin I/VCP complex could be immunoprecipitated from brain homogenates in a Ca2+-dependent manner, and GST-VCP fusion proteins efficiently captured synaptotagmin I from brain. However, when we investigated the tissue distribution of VCP, we found that, different from synaptic proteins, VCP was not enriched in brain and exhibited no developmental increase paralleling synaptogenesis. Moreover, binding of VCP, which is an ATPase, to synaptotagmin I was inhibited by both ATP and ADP, indicating that the native, nucleotide-occupied state of VCP does not bind to synaptotagmin. Together our findings suggest that the C2A-domains of different synaptotagmins, despite their homology, exhibit a high degree of specificity in their protein interactions. This is direct evidence for diverse roles of the various synaptotagmins in brain, consistent with their differential subcellular localizations. Furthermore, our results indicate that traditional approaches, such as affinity chromatography and immunoprecipitations, are useful tools to evaluate the overall spectrum of binding activity for a protein but are not sufficient to estimate physiological relevance.