Role of α-SNAP in promoting efficient neurotransmission at the crayfish neuromuscular junction

Ping He, R. Chase Southard, Dong Chen, S. W. Whiteheart, R. L. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


In this manuscript, we address the role of the soluble N-ethylmaleimide sensitive factor attachment protein (α-SNAP) in synaptic transmission at the neuromuscular junction of the crayfish opener muscle. Immunochemical methods confirm the presence of α-SNAP in these preparations and show that it is concentrated in the synaptic areas. Microinjection and electrophysiological studies show that α-SNAP causes an increase in neurotransmitter release yet does not significantly affect the kinetics. More specific quantal analysis, using focal, macropatch, synaptic current recordings, shows that α-SNAP increases transmitter release by increasing the probability of exocytosis but not the number of potential release sites. These data demonstrate that the role of α-SNAP is to increase the efficiency of neurotransmission by increasing the probability that a stimulus will result in neurotransmitter release. What this suggests is that α-SNAP is critical for the formation and maintenance of a 'ready release' pool of synaptic vesicles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3406-3416
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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