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Induction of formation of presynaptic terminals in neuroblastoma cells by synapsin IIb

Abstract

THE synapsins are a family of closely related phosphoproteins (termed synapsins Ia, Ib, IIa and IIb) associated with synaptic vesicles and implicated in the short-term regulation of neuro-transmitter release from nerve endings1–5. During development, expression of the synapsins correlates temporally with synapse formation6, but there has been no direct evidence that they are involved in synaptogenesis. Here we report that overexpression of synapsin IIb in the neuroblastoma x glioma hybrid clonal cell line NG 108–15 leads, during cell differentiation, to marked increases in the number of neuritic varicosities and in the numbers of small clear vesicles and large dense core vesicles per varicosity, as well as to the appearance of synapse-like cell–cell contacts. Thus, synapsin IIb may be involved in the regulation of synapse formation and, as a result, in long-term neuronal signalling.

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