Synaptic vesicle phosphoproteins and regulation of synaptic function

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Science  05 Feb 1993:
Vol. 259, Issue 5096, pp. 780-785
DOI: 10.1126/science.8430330


Complex brain functions, such as learning and memory, are believed to involve changes in the efficiency of communication between nerve cells. Therefore, the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms that regulate synaptic transmission, the process of intercellular communication, is an essential step toward understanding nervous system function. Several proteins associated with synaptic vesicles, the organelles that store neurotransmitters, are targets for protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation. One of these phosphoproteins, synapsin I, by means of changes in its state of phosphorylation, appears to control the fraction of synaptic vesicles available for release and thereby to regulate the efficiency of neurotransmitter release. This article describes current understanding of the mechanism by which synapsin I modulates communication between nerve cells and reviews the properties and putative functions of other phosphoproteins associated with synaptic vesicles.