Doing Without an Adaptor

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Science  05 Nov 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5698, pp. 945
DOI: 10.1126/science.306.5698.945b

Adaptor proteins (APs) are involved in the packaging of proteins into clathrin-coated vesicles during intracellular transport. The AP-3 subclass, in particular AP-3A, plays a role in membrane protein transport and in the biogenesis of lysosomes and lysosome-related organelles. The AP-3B adaptors are found only in neurons, and their precise role has been unclear. Nakatsu et al. describe the phenotype of mice engineered to lack AP-3B and suggest that this adaptor is important in the biogenesis of synaptic vesicles. Mutant mice were prone to spontaneous recurrent epileptic seizures, and their brains displayed synapses with morphological abnormalities. In hippocampal slices, the ability to release the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA was diminished, probably because of reduced levels of the GABA transporter. Thus, AP-3B is important in the production of a subset of synaptic vesicles in inhibitory neuronal pathways, and this mouse model may be useful in future studies of epilepsy. — SMH

J. Cell Biol. 167, 293 (2004).

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