Photolysis of a caged peptide reveals rapid action of N-ethylmaleimide sensitive factor before neurotransmitter release. Academic Article uri icon


  • The time at which the N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF) acts during synaptic vesicle (SV) trafficking was identified by time-controlled perturbation of NSF function with a photoactivatable inhibitory peptide. Photolysis of this caged peptide in the squid giant presynaptic terminal caused an abrupt (0.2 s) slowing of the kinetics of the postsynaptic current (PSC) and a more gradual (2-3 s) reduction in PSC amplitude. Based on the rapid rate of these inhibitory effects relative to the speed of SV recycling, we conclude that NSF functions in reactions that immediately precede neurotransmitter release. Our results indicate the locus of SNARE protein recycling in presynaptic terminals and reveal NSF as a potential target for rapid regulation of transmitter release.

publication date

  • January 8, 2008