Posts Tagged ‘Synaptic vesicle’

Lesson 5 Cell Signaling And Motility: Cytoskeleton & Actin: Curations and Articles of reference as supplemental information: #TUBiol3373

Curator: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

Cell motility or migration is an essential cellular process for a variety of biological events. In embryonic development, cells migrate to appropriate locations for the morphogenesis of tissues and organs. Cells need to migrate to heal the wound in repairing damaged tissue. Vascular endothelial cells (ECs) migrate to form new capillaries during angiogenesis. White blood cells migrate to the sites of inflammation to kill bacteria. Cancer cell metastasis involves their migration through the blood vessel wall to invade surrounding tissues.

Please Click on the Following Powerpoint Presentation for Lesson 4 on the Cytoskeleton, Actin, and Filaments


cell signaling 5 lesson

This post will be updated with further information when we get into Lesson 6 and complete our discussion on the Cytoskeleton

Please see the following articles on Actin and the Cytoskeleton in Cellular Signaling

Role of Calcium, the Actin Skeleton, and Lipid Structures in Signaling and Cell Motility

This article, constitutes a broad, but not complete review of the emerging discoveries of the critical role of calcium signaling on cell motility and, by extension, embryonic development, cancer metastasis, changes in vascular compliance at the junction between the endothelium and the underlying interstitial layer.  The effect of calcium signaling on the heart in arrhtmogenesis and heart failure will be a third in this series, while the binding of calcium to troponin C in the synchronous contraction of the myocardium had been discussed by Dr. Lev-Ari in Part I.

Universal MOTIFs essential to skeletal muscle, smooth muscle, cardiac syncytial muscle, endothelium, neovascularization, atherosclerosis and hypertension, cell division, embryogenesis, and cancer metastasis. The discussion will be presented in several parts:
1.  Biochemical and signaling cascades in cell motility
2.  Extracellular matrix and cell-ECM adhesions
3.  Actin dynamics in cell-cell adhesion
4.  Effect of intracellular Ca++ action on cell motility
5.  Regulation of the cytoskeleton
6.  Role of thymosin in actin-sequestration
7.  T-lymphocyte signaling and the actin cytoskeleton


Identification of Biomarkers that are Related to the Actin Cytoskeleton

In this article the Dr. Larry Bernstein covers two types of biomarker on the function of actin in cytoskeleton mobility in situ.

  • First, is an application in developing the actin or other component, for a biotarget and then, to be able to follow it as

(a) a biomarker either for diagnosis, or

(b) for the potential treatment prediction of disease free survival.

  • Second, is mostly in the context of MI, for which there is an abundance of work to reference, and a substantial body of knowledge about

(a) treatment and long term effects of diet, exercise, and

(b) underlying effects of therapeutic drugs.

Microtubule-Associated Protein Assembled on Polymerized Microtubules

(This article has a great 3D visualization of a microtuble structure as well as description of genetic diseases which result from mutations in tubulin and effects on intracellular trafficking of proteins.

A latticework of tiny tubes called microtubules gives your cells their shape and also acts like a railroad track that essential proteins travel on. But if there is a glitch in the connection between train and track, diseases can occur. In the November 24, 2015 issue of PNAS, Tatyana Polenova, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and her team at the University of Delaware (UD), together with John C. Williams, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope in Duarte, California, reveal for the first time — atom by atom — the structure of a protein bound to a microtubule. The protein of focus, CAP-Gly, short for “cytoskeleton-associated protein-glycine-rich domains,” is a component of dynactin, which binds with the motor protein dynein to move cargoes of essential proteins along the microtubule tracks. Mutations in CAP-Gly have been linked to such neurological diseases and disorders as Perry syndrome and distal spinal bulbar muscular dystrophy.


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Curation, HealthCare System in the US, and Calcium Signaling Effects on Cardiac Contraction, Heart Failure, and Atrial Fibrillation, and the Relationship of Calcium Release at the Myoneural Junction to Beta Adrenergic Release

Curation, HealthCare System in the US, and Calcium Signaling Effects on Cardiac Contraction, Heart Failure, and Atrial Fibrillation, and the Relationship of Calcium Release at the Myoneural Junction to Beta Adrenergic Release

Curator and e-book Contributor: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP
Curator and BioMedicine e-Series Editor-in-Chief: Aviva Lev Ari, PhD, RN


Content Consultant to Six-Volume e-SERIES A: Cardiovascular Diseases: Justin Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC

This portion summarises what we have covered and is now familiar to the reader.  There are three related topics, and an extension of this embraces other volumes and chapters before and after this reading.  This approach to the document has advantages over the multiple authored textbooks that are and have been pervasive as a result of the traditional publication technology.  It has been stated by the founder of ScoopIt, that amount of time involved is considerably less than required for the original publications used, but the organization and construction is a separate creative process.  In these curations we amassed on average five articles in one curation, to which, two or three curators contributed their views.  There were surprises, and there were unfulfilled answers along the way.  The greatest problem that is being envisioned is the building a vision that bridges and unmasks the hidden “dark matter” between the now declared “OMICS”, to get a more real perspective on what is conjecture and what is actionable.  This is in some respects unavoidable because the genome is an alphabet that is matched to the mino acid sequences of proteins, which themselves are three dimensional drivers of sequences of metabolic reactions that can be altered by the accumulation of substrates in critical placements, and in addition, the proteome has functional proteins whose activity is a regulatory function and not easily identified.  In the end, we have to have a practical conception, recognizing the breadth of evolutionary change, and make sense of what we have, while searching for more.

We introduced the content as follows:

1. We introduce the concept of curation in the digital context, and it’s application to medicine and related scientific discovery.

Topics were chosen were used to illustrate this process in the form of a pattern, which is mostly curation, but is significantly creative, as it emerges in the context of this e-book.

  • Alternative solutions in Treatment of Heart Failure (HF), medical devices, biomarkers and agent efficacy is handled all in one chapter.
  • PCI for valves vs Open heart Valve replacement
  • PDA and Complications of Surgery — only curation could create the picture of this unique combination of debate, as exemplified of Endarterectomy (CEA) vs Stenting the Carotid Artery (CAS), ischemic leg, renal artery stenosis.

2. The etiology, or causes, of cardiovascular diseases consist of mechanistic explanations for dysfunction relating to the heart or vascular system. Every one of a long list of abnormalities has a path that explains the deviation from normal. With the completion of the analysis of the human genome, in principle all of the genetic basis for function and dysfunction are delineated. While all genes are identified, and the genes code for all the gene products that constitute body functions, there remains more unknown than known.

3. Human genome, and in combination with improved imaging methods, genomics offers great promise in changing the course of disease and aging.

4. If we tie together Part 1 and Part 2, there is ample room for considering clinical outcomes based on individual and organizational factors for best performance. This can really only be realized with considerable improvement in information infrastructure, which has miles to go.


Curation is an active filtering of the web’s  and peer reviewed literature found by such means – immense amount of relevant and irrelevant content. As a result content may be disruptive. However, in doing good curation, one does more than simply assign value by presentation of creative work in any category. Great curators comment and share experience across content, authors and themes.
Great curators may see patterns others don’t, or may challenge or debate complex and apparently conflicting points of view.  Answers to specifically focused questions comes from the hard work of many in laboratory settings creatively establishing answers to definitive questions, each a part of the larger knowledge-base of reference. There are those rare “Einstein’s” who imagine a whole universe, unlike the three blindmen of the Sufi tale.  One held the tail, the other the trunk, the other the ear, and they all said this is an elephant!
In my reading, I learn that the optimal ratio of curation to creation may be as high as 90% curation to 10% creation. Creating content is expensive. Curation, by comparison, is much less expensive.  The same source says “Scoop.it is my content marketing testing “sandbox”. In sharing, he says that comments provide the framework for what and how content is shared.

Healthcare and Affordable Care Act

We enter year 2014 with the Affordable Care Act off to a slow start because of the implementation of the internet signup requiring a major repair, which is, unfortunately, as expected for such as complex job across the US, and with many states unwilling to participate.  But several states – California, Connecticut, and Kentucky – had very effective state designed signups, separate from the federal system.  There has been a very large rush and an extension to sign up. There are many features that we can take note of:

1. The healthcare system needed changes because we have the most costly system, are endowed with advanced technology, and we have inexcusable outcomes in several domains of care, including, infant mortality, and prenatal care – but not in cardiology.

2. These changes that are notable are:

  • The disparities in outcome are magnified by a large disparity in highest to lowest income bracket.
  • This is also reflected in educational status, and which plays out in childhood school lunches, and is also affected by larger class size and cutbacks in school programs.
  • This is not  helped by a large paralysis in the two party political system and the three legs of government unable to deal with work and distraction.
  • Unemployment is high, and the banking and home construction, home buying, and rental are in realignment, but interest rates are problematic.

3.  The  medical care system is affected by the issues above, but the complexity is not to be discounted.

  •  The medical schools are unable at this time to provide the influx of new physicians needed, so we depend on a major influx of physicians from other countries
  • The technology for laboratories, proteomic and genomic as well as applied medical research is rejuvenating the practice in cardiology more rapidly than any other field.
  • In fields that are imaging related the life cycle of instruments is shorter than the actual lifetime use of the instruments, which introduces a shortening of ROI.
  • Hospitals are consolidating into large consortia in order to maintain a more viable system for referral of specialty cases, and also is centralizing all terms of business related to billing.
  • There is reduction in independent physician practices that are being incorporated into the hospital enterprise with Part B billing under the Physician Organization – as in Partners in Greater Boston, with the exception of “concierge” medical practices.
  • There is consolidation of specialty laboratory services within state, with only the most specialized testing going out of state (Quest, LabCorp, etc.)
  • Medicaid is expanded substantially under the new ACA.
  • The federal government as provider of services is reducing the number of contractors for – medical devices, diabetes self-testing, etc.
  • The current rearrangements seeks to provide a balance between capital expenses and fixed labor costs that it can control, reduce variable costs (reagents, pharmaceutical), and to take in more patients with less delay and better performance – defined by outside agencies.

Cardiology, Genomics, and calcium ion signaling and ion-channels in cardiomyocyte function in health and disease – including heart failure, rhythm abnormalities, and the myoneural release of neurotransmitter at the vesicle junction.

This portion is outlined as follows:

2.1 Human Genome: Congenital Etiological Sources of Cardiovascular Disease

2.2 The Role of Calcium in Health and Disease

2.3 Vasculature and Myocardium: Diagnosing the Conditions of Disease

Genomics & Genetics of Cardiovascular Disease Diagnoses

actin cytoskeleton

wall stress, ventricular workload, contractile reserve

Genetic Base of Atherosclerosis and Loss of Arterial Elasticity with Aging

calcium and actin skeleton, signaling, cell motility

hypertension & vascular compliance

Genetics of Conduction Disease

Ca+ stimulated exostosis: calmodulin & PKC (neurotransmitter)

complications & MVR

disruption of Ca2+ homeostasis cardiac & vascular smooth muscle

synaptotagmin as Ca2+ sensor & vesicles

atherosclerosis & ion channels

It is increasingly clear that there are mutations that underlie many human diseases, and this is true of the cardiovascular system.  The mutations are mistakes in the insertion of a purine nucleotide, which may or may not have any consequence.  This is why the associations that are being discovered in research require careful validation, and even require demonstration in “models” before pursuing the design of pharmacological “target therapy”.  The genomics in cardiovascular disease involves very serious congenital disorders that are asserted early in life, but the effects of and development of atherosclerosis involving large and medium size arteries has a slow progression and is not dominated by genomic expression.  This is characterized by loss of arterial elasticity. In addition there is the development of heart failure, which involves the cardiomyocyte specifically.  The emergence of regenerative medical interventions, based on pleuripotent inducible stem cell therapy is developing rapidly as an intervention in this sector.

Finally, it is incumbent on me to call attention to the huge contribution that research on calcium (Ca2+) signaling has made toward the understanding of cardiac contraction and to the maintenance of the heart rhythm.  The heart is a syncytium, different than skeletal and smooth muscle, and the innervation is by the vagus nerve, which has terminal endings at vesicles which discharge at the myocyte junction.  The heart specifically has calmodulin kinase CaMK II, and it has been established that calmodulin is involved in the calcium spark that triggers contraction.  That is only part of the story.  Ion transport occurs into or out of the cell, the latter termed exostosis.  Exostosis involves CaMK II and pyruvate kinase (PKC), and they have independent roles.  This also involves K+-Na+-ATPase.  The cytoskeleton is also discussed, but the role of aquaporin in water transport appears elsewhere, as the transport of water between cells.  When we consider the Gibbs-Donnan equilibrium, which precedes the current work by a century, we recall that there is an essential balance between extracellular Na+ + Ca2+ and the intracellular K+ + Mg2+, and this has been superceded by an incompletely defined relationship between ions that are cytoplasmic and those that are mitochondrial.  The glass is half full!


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Ca2+-Stimulated Exocytosis:  The Role of Calmodulin and Protein Kinase C in Ca2+ Regulation of Hormone and Neurotransmitter

Article XIII Ca2+-Stimulated Exocytosis The Role of Calmodulin and Protein Kinase C in Ca2+ Regulation of Hormone and Neurotransmitter

Writer and Curator: Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP
Curator and Content Editor: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

This article is Part V in a series of TWELVE articles, listed at the end of this article,  on the

  1. cytoskeleton,
  2. calcium calmodulin kinase signaling,
  3. muscle and nerve transduction, and
  4. calcium,
  5. Na+-K+-ATPase,
  6. neurohumoral activity and vesicles vital and essential for all functions related to
  • cell movement,
  • migration, and
  • contraction.

Calmodulin and Protein Kinase C Increase Ca–stimulated Secretion by Modulating
Membrane-attached Exocytic Machinery

YA Chen, V Duvvuri, H Schulmani, and RH.Scheller‡
From the ‡Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology,
and the Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA

The molecular mechanisms underlying the Ca2+ regulation of hormone and neurotransmitter release
are largely unknown.

Using a reconstituted [3H]norepinephrine release assay in permeabilized PC12 cells, we found

  • essential proteins that support the triggering stage of Ca2+-stimulated exocytosis
  • are enriched in an EGTA extract of brain membranes.
Fractionation of this extract allowed purification of two factors that stimulate secretion
  • in the absence of any other cytosolic proteins.
These are calmodulin and protein kinase Ca (PKCa). Their effects on secretion were
  • confirmed using commercial and recombinant proteins.
Calmodulin enhances secretion

  • in the absence of ATP, whereas
  • PKC requires ATP to increase secretion, suggesting that
  • phosphorylation is involved in PKC-mediated stimulation
  • but not calmodulin mediated stimulation.
  • Both proteins modulate
    • The half-maximal increase was elicited by
      3 nM PKC and 75 nM calmodulin.
These results suggest that calmodulin and PKC increase Ca2+-activated exocytosis by
  • directly modulating the membrane- or cytoskeleton-attached exocytic machinery
    downstream of Ca2+ elevation.

The abbreviations used are:

NE, norepinephrine; PKC, protein kinase C; CaM, calmodulin; SNAP-25, synaptosome-associated protein of 25 kDa; CAPS, calcium-dependent activator protein for secretion; SNARE, SNAP (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment proteins) receptor; CaMK, Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase; PAGE, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; AMP-PNP, adenosine 59-(b,g- imido) triphosphate;  HA, hydroxyapatite

*This work was supported in part by Conte Center Grant MH48108. The costs of publication of
this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article has been marked
“advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734.

The molecular mechanisms of presynaptic vesicle release have been extensively examined
by a combination of

  • biochemical,
  • genetic, and
  • electrophysiological techniques.

A series of protein-protein interaction cascades have been proposed to lead to vesicle
docking and fusion
(1–3). The SNARE protein family, including

  • syntaxin, SNAP-25, and vesicle-associated membrane protein
    (VAMP, also called synaptobrevin),
  • plays an essential role in promoting membrane fusion, and
  • is thought to comprise the basic fusion machinery (4, 5).

In Ca2+-stimulated exocytosis, many additional proteins are important in the Ca2+ regulation
of the basic membrane trafficking apparatus.

  • not only triggers rapid fusion of release-competent vesicles, but is also involved in
  • earlier processes which replenish the pool of readily releasable vesicles (6).

Furthermore, it appears to be critical in initiating several forms of synaptic plasticity including

  • post-tetanic potentiation (7).

The molecular mechanisms by which Ca2+ regulates these processes is not well understood.

PC12 cells have often been utilized to study Ca2+-activated exocytosis
, as

  • they offer a homogeneous cell population that possesses the same basic exocytic machinery as neurons (8).

In this study, we used an established cracked cell assay, in which

  • [3H]norepinephrine (NE)1 labeled PC12 cells are
  • permeabilized by mechanical “cracking” and
  • then reconstituted for secretion of NE in the presence of test proteins (9).

Transmitter-filled vesicles and intracellular cytoskeletal structures

  • remain intact in these cells,
  • while cytosolic proteins leak out (10).

These cracked cells readily release NE upon addition of

  • ATP,
  • brain cytosol, and
  • 1 mM free Ca2+
    • at an elevated temperature.

We term this a “composite assay,” as

  • all essential components are added into one reaction mixture.

Alternatively, cracked cells can be

  • first primed with cytosol and ATP, washed, then
  • reconstituted for NE release with cytosol and Ca2+ (11).

This sequential priming-triggering protocol is useful

  • for determining whether a protein acts early or late in the exocytic pathway, and
  • whether its effect is dependent on Ca2+ or ATP.

This semi-intact cell system serves as

  • a bridge between an in vitro system comprised of purified components, and
  • electro-physiological systems that monitor release in vivo.
  • It provides information on protein functions in a cell with an intact membrane infrastructure while being easily manipulatable.

Ca2+ regulation by membrane depolarization is no longer a concern, as
intra-cellular Ca2+ concentration can be controlled by a buffered solution.

  • Indirect readout of neurotransmitter release using a postsynaptic cell is replaced by
  • direct readout of [3H]NE released into the buffer.

Complications associated with interpreting overlapping

  • exo- and endocytotic signals are also eliminated as only one round of exocytosis is measured.

Finally, concentration estimates are likely to be accurate, since

  • added compounds do not need to diffuse long distances along axons and dendrites to their sites of action.

Using this assay, several proteins required for NE release have been purified from rat brain cytosol, including

  • phosphatidyl-inositol transfer protein (12),
  • phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate 5-kinase (13), and
  • calcium-dependent activator protein for secretion (CAPS) (9).

The validity of the cracked cell system is confirmed by the finding that

  • phosphatidylinositol transfer protein and CAPS are mammalian homologues of
    • yeast SEC14p (12) and
    • nematode UNC31p, respectively (14),
  • both proteins involved in membrane trafficking (15, 16).

Calmodulin is the most ubiquitous calcium mediator in eukaryotic cells, yet its involvement in membrane trafficking has not been well established. Some early studies showed

  • that calmodulin inhibitors (17–19), anti-calmodulin antibodies (20,21),


  • calmodulin binding inhibitory peptides (22) inhibited Ca2+-activated exocytosis.

However, in other studies, calmodulin-binding peptides and an anti-calmodulin antibody led to the conclusion that

  • calmodulin is only involved in endocytosis,
  • not exocytosis (23).

More recently, it was reported that

  1. Ca2+/ calmodulin signals the completion of docking and
  2. triggers a late step of homotypic vacuole fusion in yeast,
  • thus suggesting an essential role for Ca2+/calmodulin in constitutive intracellular membrane fusion (24).

If calmodulin indeed plays an important role in exocytosis,

  • a likely target of calmodulin is
  • Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII),
    • a multifunctional kinase that is found on synaptic vesicles (25) and
    • has been shown to potentiate neurotransmitter release (26, 27).

Another Ca2+ signaling molecule, PKC, has also been implicated in regulated exocytosis.
In various cell systems, it has been shown that

  • the phorbol esters stimulate secretion (28, 29).

It is usually assumed that phorbol esters effect on exocytosis is

  • through activation of PKC,
  • but Munc13-1 was recently shown to be a presynaptic phorbol ester receptor that enhances neurotransmitter release (30, 31),

which complicates the interpretation of some earlier reports. The mode of action of PKC remains controversial. There is evidence

  • that PKC increases the intracellular Ca2+ levels by modulating plasma membrane Ca2+ channels (32, 33),
  • that it increases the size of the release competent vesicle pool (34, 35), or
  • that it increases the Ca2+ sensitivity of the membrane trafficking apparatus (36).

no consensus on these issues has been reached.

PKC substrates that have been implicated in exocytosis include

  1. SNAP-25 (37),
  2. synaptotagmin (28),
  3. CAPS (38), and
  4. nsec1 (39).

It is believed that upon phosphorylation, these PKC substrates might

  • interact differently with their binding partners, which, in turn,
  • leads to the enhancement of exocytosis.

In addition, evidence is accumulating that PKC and calmodulin interfere with each others actions, as

  • PKC phosphorylation sites are embedded in the calmodulin-binding domains of substrates such as
  • neuromodulin and
  • neurogranin (40).

It is therefore possible that PKC could modulate exocytosis via

  • a calmodulin-dependent pathway by synchronously releasing calmodulin from storage proteins.

In this study, we fractionated an EGTA extract of brain membranes in order to identify active components that could reconstitute release in the cracked cell assay system. We identified calmodulin and PKC as two active factors. Thus, we demonstrate that

  • calmodulin and PKC play a role in the Ca2+ regulation of exocytosis, and provide further insight into the mechanisms of their action.


 In this study, we first identified an EGTA extract of brain membranes as a protein source
  •  capable of reconstituting Ca2+- activated exocytosis in cracked PC12 cells.
EGTA only extracts a small pool of Ca2+-dependent membrane-associating proteins,
  • it served as an efficient initial purification step.
Further protein chromatography led to the identification of two active factors in the starting extract,
  • calmodulin and PKC,
  • which together accounted for about half of the starting activity.
Upon confirmation with commercially obtained proteins, this result unambiguously demonstrated
  • that calmodulin and PKC mediate aspects of Ca2+-dependent processes in exocytosis.
The finding that brain membrane EGTA extract alone is able
  • to replace cytosol in supporting Ca2+-triggered NE secretion
 in PC12 cells is somewhat surprising. We suggest that the likely explanation is 2-fold.
  1. some cytosolic proteins essential for exocytosis have a membrane-bound pool
    within permeabilized cells, whose activity might be sufficient for a normal level of exocytosis.
  2. although the 100,000 3 g membrane pellet was washed to remove as many cytosolic proteins as possible,
  • some cytosolic proteins that associate with membranes in a
    • Ca2+-independent manner are probably present in the membrane EGTA extract.
  • these proteins likely constitute only a small percentage of the proteins in the extract, as
    • the characteristics of the activity triggered by the membrane extract
    • are quite different to that of cytosol (Fig. 2).
 Using an unbiased biochemical purification method, we demonstrated that
  •  calmodulin and PKC directly modulate the exocytotic machinery downstream of Ca2+ entry
  • they signal through membrane-attached molecules to increase exocytosis.
 These targets include integral and peripheral membrane proteins, and cytosolic proteins that have a significant
membrane-bound pool.  The modest stimulation by calmodulin and PKC on secretion might suggest a regulatory
role. However, it is also possible that some intermediates in their signaling pathways are in limiting amounts in the
cell ghosts, so that their full effects were not observed. Half-maximal stimulation was obtained at
  • about 3 nM for PKC and
  • at about 75 nM for calmodulin.
This is consistent with an enzymatic role for PKC, and predicts a high-affinity interaction between
  • calmodulin and its substrate protein.
 Ca2+ regulates exocytosis at many different levels. Prior studies indicated that Ca2+ signaling occurs in

  • the priming steps as well
  • as in triggering steps (49, 50).
Our priming triggering protocol 
  1. does not allow Ca2+-dependent priming events to be assayed, as EGTA is present in the priming reaction.
  2. a different approach revealed the existence of both high and low Ca2+-dependent processes (Fig. 2).
  3. this analysis indicated that late triggering events require high [Ca2+], whereas
  4. early priming events require low [Ca2+]. If, as proposed, there is
a pronounced intracellular spatial and temporal [Ca2+] gradient from
  • the point of Ca2+ entry during depolarization (51),
  • perhaps triggered events occur closer to the point of Ca2+ entry,
  • while Ca2+-dependent priming events occur further away from the point of Ca2+ entry.
Fig 2A. measurements of range of [Ca2+]total - average [Ca2+]free values._page_004
Fig. 2B. measurements of range of [Ca2+] total - average [Ca2+]free values_edited-1
Distinct Ca2+ sensors at these stages might be appropriately tuned to different [Ca2+] to handle different tasks.
By analyzing the Ca2+ sensitivity of calmodulin-and PKC-stimulated release, we addressed the question of
  • whether calmodulin and PKC plays an early or a late role in vesicle release.
  •  they both require relatively high [Ca2+] (Fig. 8B),
  • implying that calmodulin and PKC both mediate late triggering events, consistent with some earlier reports
    (34, 52, 53).

In addition, it is interesting to note that PKC does not alter the calcium sensitivity of release in cracked cells, in contrast

to observations from the chick ciliary ganglion (36). Therefore, in contrast to previous electrophysiological studies (28),
we are able to limit the possible modes of PKC action in our system to an increase in the readily releasable vesicle pool or
release sites, or an enhancement of the probability of release of individual vesicles upon Ca2+ influx.
The experiments assaying the calcium sensitivity of release (Figs. 2, 5, and 8) demonstrated
  • a drop in release at very high [Ca2+].

FIG. 5 calmodulin action_page_005

FIG. 8. PKC and calmodulin stimulate... the late triggering reaction_page_006
This decline in release at high [Ca2+] has been previously reported (49, 51), and may represent
  • the true Ca2+ sensitivity of the Ca2+-sensing mechanism inside cells.

However, in our system, it could also be due to the activation of a variety of Ca2+ -activated proteases, as experiments are usually performed in the presence of crude extracts, which include unsequestered proteases.

What might the molecular targets of PKC and calmodulin be? An obvious calmodulin target molecule is CaMKII.
  • but calmodulin’s effect on exocytosis is ATP-independent, rendering the involvement of a kinase unlikely.
 Calmodulin has also been shown to associate with
  • synaptic vesicles in a Ca2+-dependent fashion through synaptotagmin (54),
  • probably by binding to its C-terminal tail (55), and to promote Rab3A dissociation from synaptic vesicles (56).
  • However, there was little calcium-dependent binding of calmodulin to synaptotagmin
    • either on synaptic vesicles, in a bead binding assay with recombinant proteins,
    • or in a calmodulin overlay (data not shown).

In addition, using immobilized calmodulin, we did not see

  • significant Ca2+-dependent pull-down of synaptotagmin or Rab3A from rat brain extract (data not shown).
Recent work has suggested three other candidate targets for calmodulin, Munc13, Pollux, and CRAG (57).
  • Pollux has similarity to a portion of a yeast Rab GTPase-activating protein, while
  • CRAG is related to Rab3 GTPase exchange proteins.
Further work is required to investigate the role of their interactions with calmodulin in vivo.
The recent report that calmodulin mediates yeast vacuole fusion (24) is intriguing, as it raises the possibility that
  • calmodulin, a highly conserved ubiquitous molecule,
    • may mediate many membrane trafficking events.

It is not yet known if

  • the effector molecule of calmodulin is conserved or variable across species and different trafficking steps.

It is enticing to propose a model for Ca2+ sensing whereby

  • calmodulin is a high affinity Ca2+ sensor for both constitutive and regulated membrane fusion.
  1. In the case of constitutive fusion, calmodulin may be the predominant Ca2+ sensor.
  2. In the case of slow, non-local exocytosis of large dense core granules, an additional requirement for
  3. the concerted actions of other molecule(s) that are better tuned to intermediate rises in [Ca2+] might exist.
At the highly localized sites of fast exocytosis of small clear vesicles where high [Ca2+] is reached,
  • specialized low affinity sensor(s) are likely required
  • in addition to calmodulin to achieve membrane fusion.

Therefore, although calmodulin participates in multiple types of vesicle fusion,

  • the impact of Ca2+ sensing by calmodulin on vesicle release likely varies.
Due to the fact that calmodulin binding to some proteins can be modulated by PKC phosphorylation, one might suspect
  • PKC action on exocytosis proceeds through a calmodulin-dependent pathway.
  • but the effects of calmodulin and PKC are additive within our system,
    • suggesting that PKC does not act by releasing calmodulin from a substrate
      • that functions as a calmodulin storage protein.
How Ca2+ regulates presynaptic vesicle release has been an open question for many years. By

  • identifying calmodulin and PKC as modulators of Ca21-regulated exocytosis and clarifying their functions,
  • we have extended our knowledge of the release process.

While the basic machinery of membrane fusion is becoming better understood,

  • the multiple effects of Ca2+ on exocytosis remain to be elucidated at the molecular level.

In addition, the ways that Ca2+ regulation may be important to

  • the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in the central nervous system


Rat Brain Cytosol Preparation
Membrane EGTA Extract Preparation

Cracked Cell Assay

PC12 cells were maintained and [3H]NE labeled as described previously (11). Labeled cells were harvested by pipetting with ice-cold potassium glutamate buffer (50 mM Hepes, pH 7.2, 105 mM potassium glutamate, 20 mM potassium acetate, 2 mM EGTA) containing 0.1% bovine serum albumin. Subsequent manipulations were carried out at 0–4 °C. Labeled cells (1–1.5 ml/dish) were mechanically permeabilized passage through a stainless steel homogenizer. The cracked cells were adjusted to 11 mM EGTA and

  • incubated on ice for 0.5–3 h, followed by three washes in which
  • the cells were centrifuged at 800 3 g for 5 min and
  • resuspended in potassium glutamate buffer containing 0.1% bovine serum albumin.

Composite Assay 

Each release reaction contains 0.5–1 million cracked cells, 1.5 mM free Ca2+, 2 mM MgATP,
and the protein solution to be tested in potassium glutamate buffer. Release reactions were initiated
by incubation at 30 °C and terminated by returning to ice. The supernatant of each reaction was
isolated by centrifugation at 2,500 3 g for 30 min at 4 °C, and the

  • released [3H]NE was quantified by scintillation counting (Beckman LS6000IC).

Cell pellets were dissolved in 1% Triton X-100, 0.02% azide and similarly counted. NE release

  • was calculated as a percentage of total [3H] in the supernatant.

Priming Assay

A priming reaction contains about

  • 1–2 million cracked cells,
  • 2 mM MgATP, and
  • the protein solution to be tested.
  • Ca2+ is omitted.

The primed cells were spun down, washed once with fresh potassium glutamate buffer, and

  • distributed into two triggering reactions, each containing
  • rat brain cytosol and free Ca2+
  • The triggering reaction was performed at 30 °C for 3 min, and
  • the NE release was measured
    • as in a composite assay.

Triggering Assay

Cracked cells were primed …, centrifuged, washed …, and

distributed into triggering reactions containing

  • 1.5 mM free Ca2+ and the protein solution 

To inhibit any ATP dependent activity in the triggering reaction,  an

  • ATP depletion system of
    1. hexokinase
    2. MgCl2,
    3. glucose or
  • a non-hydrolyzable ATP analogue AMPPNP

was added into the triggering reaction. NE release was measured as above.

Free Ca2+ Concentration Determination

The range of Ca2+free in the release reaction (Fig. 2B) was achieved

  • by adding Ca2+ into potassium glutamate buffer to reach final [Ca2+] total values of
    • 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, 1.8, 1.9, and 2.0 mM.
  • The pH of the reaction was 7.24 when no Ca2+ was added and
  • 7.04 when 2.0 mM Ca2+ was added
    • in the absence of protein extracts or cracked cells.
Fig. 2B. measurements of range of [Ca2+] total - average [Ca2+]free values_edited-1
Fig. 2B.   The range of [Ca21]free in the release reaction (Fig. 2B)
Free Ca2+ concentrations were determined using video microscopic
measurements of fura-2 fluorescence
 (41). [Ca2+]free was calculated from the equation
  • [Ca2+]free 5 Kd*3 (R 2 Rmin)/(Rmax 2 R) (42).
The values of Rmin, Rmax, and Kd* were determined in the following solutions: 
potassium glutamate buffer (PGB) containing
  • 8 x 3 10^6 cracked cells/ml, 2 mM MgATP (PGB+CC)
1) Rmin:  PGB+CC and 10 mM additional EGTA;
2) Rmax: PBG+CC, and 10 mM total Ca2+;
3) Kd*: PGB+CC, 28 mM additional EGTA, and 18 mM total Ca2+, pH 7.2
([Ca2+]free 5 = 169 nM, determined in the absence of cells and MgATP
  • based on fura-2 calibration in cell-free solutions).
These solutions were
  1. incubated at 37 °C ,
  2. mixed with fura-2 pentapotassium salt
    (100 mM; Molecular Probes, Eugene, OR), and
  3. imaged.
This procedure allowed us to take into account
  • changes in fura-2 properties
  • caused by the presence of
    • permeabilized cells.
Duplicate measurements of the above range of [Ca2+] total gave
  • the following average [Ca2+] free values:
  • 106, 146, 277, 462, 971, 1468, 1847, and 2484 nM.

Purification of Active Proteins

All procedures were carried out at 4 °C or on ice. Membrane
EGTA extract of one or two bovine brain(s) was

  1. filtered through cheesecloth and
  2. loaded overnight onto a column packed with DEAE-Sepharose
    CL-6B beads (Amersham Pharmacia Biotech).

The column was then

  1. washed with
    (20 mM Hepes, pH 7.5, 0.25 mM sucrose, 2 mM EGTA, 1 mM dithiothreitol) and 
  2. step eluted with 10 column volumes of elution buffer
    (20 mM Hepes, pH 7.5, 2 mM EGTA, 400 mM KCl, 1 mM dithiothreitol).
    100 ml of every other fraction was
  3. dialyzed overnight into PGB, and
  4. tested in a composite release assay for activity.
  • The active fractions were pooled and dialyzed into zero salt buffer
    (20 mM Hepes, pH 7.5, 2 mM EGTA) and
  • batch bound to 10 ml of Affi-Gel Blue beads (Bio-Rad) or DyeMatrex-Green A beads (Amicon)

Blue beads were used in earlier experiments, and Green beads were used later to

  • specifically deplete CAPS, which was known to bind to Green beads (9).

The unbound material was

  1. collected,
  2. concentrated to about 2 ml using a Centriprep-10 (Amicon), and
  3. loaded onto a 120-ml HiPrep Sephacryl S-200 gel filtration column
    (Amersham Pharmacia Biotech).
Samples were run on the S-200 column in PGB at a flow rate of 7 ml/h.
  • 10–50 ml of every other fraction was tested for
    • activity in the cracked cell composite assay, and
  • two peaks of activity were observed (Fig. 3).

FIG. 3. Gel filtration chromatography reveals two stimulatory_page_004

The first peak of activity had a predicted molecular mass of 85 kDa.
The corresponding material was

  • adjusted to 10 mM potassium phosphate concentration (pH 7.2) and
  • loaded onto a 1-ml column packed with hydroxyapatite Bio-Gel HT

The bound material was

  • eluted with a linear K-PO4 gradient from 10 to 500 mM (pH 7.2)
  •  at a flow rate of about 0.1 ml/min, and
  • 0.4–0.5-ml fractions were collected.
  •  each fraction was dialyzed into PGB and
  • tested for activity.

The fractions were also analyzed by

  • SDS-PAGE and silver staining (Sigma silver stain kit).

The active material was concentrated and resolved

  • on an 8% poly-acrylamide gel.

Two Coomassie-stained protein bands that matched the activity profile (Fig. 6)

  • were excised from the gel,
  • sequenced by the Stanford PAN facility.

FIG. 6. Purification of the high molecular weight active factor_page_001

The two polypeptide sequences obtained from the upper band were:


The only bovine protein that contains both polypeptides is PKCa.
The four polypeptide sequences obtained from the lower band were:


Based on these sequences, the protein band was

  • unambiguously identified to be bovine annexin VI.

The second S-200 peak has a predicted molecular mass of 25 kDa.
The corresponding material was

  • dialyzed into zero salt buffer
    (20 mM Tris, pH 7.5, 1 mM EGTA) and
  • injected onto a Mono-Q HR 5/5 FPLC column

The FPLC run was performed at 18 °C at 1 ml/min and

  • 1-ml fractions were collected
  • with a linear salt gradient from 0 to 1 M KCl over 71 ml.

The fractions containing proteins (determined by A280) were

  • dialyzed into PGB and
  • tested in the cracked cell assay.

Western Blot

Anti-calmodulin antibody and anti-PKC antibody were used, and

  • ECL (Amersham) was used for detection.


A Membrane EGTA Extract Supports NE Release 

Brain cytosol, prepared as the supernatant of the brain homogenate,
  • effectively stimulates NE release
  • in the cracked cell assay (Fig. 1)
    as previously shown (9). 

Fig. 1 EGTA extract can support NE release_page_003_edited-2

We wondered whether crude extracts other than cytosol
  • could support NE release, and we focused on
  • extractable peripheral membrane proteins.
We found that a salt or EGTA extract of brain membranes,
membranes defined as the
  • 100,000 3 g pellet of the crude homogenate,
  • reconstituted secretion in the absence of cytosol.
  • the salt extract only slightly enhanced NE release
    above background (data not shown), the 
EGTA extract not only stimulated NE release to a high level,
  • similar to that supported by cytosol, but also
  • had a higher specific activity than cytosol (Fig. 1). 
Fig. 1 EGTA extract can support NE release_page_003_edited-3
FIG. 1. The EGTA extract of brain membranes can support NE release in the absence of cytosol. Rat brain membrane EGTA extract (closed triangles) and rat brain cytosol (closed squares) were prepared as described under “Experimental Procedures.” NE release was measured in a composite reaction mixture of cracked cells, MgATP, Ca2+, and the indicated amount of crude extracts.
The ability of the membrane EGTA extract to support secretion is consistent with the fact that
  • following cracking, the cells are immediately extracted with EGTA, and are presumably
  • devoid of most membrane EGTA-extractable factors.

This also suggests that these factors, some of which are probably

  • Ca2+-dependent membrane-associating proteins,
  • participate in Ca2+- triggered exocytosis.

The Membrane EGTA Extract Is Enriched in Triggering Fators

NE release in cracked cells can be resolved into two sequential stages,
  • an ATP-dependent priming stage and
  • an ATP-independent Ca21-dependent triggering stage (11), and
  • proteins can be tested for activity in either stage.
An effect in priming indicates
  1. an early role for the protein, and
  2. an effect in triggering a late ATP-independent role.
Since the protein composition of the
  • membrane EGTA extract and cytosol are different,
we tested whether they had different activities
  • in the priming stage versus the triggering stage.
We found that the membrane EGTA extract is enriched in factors that
  • act during triggering stage of NE releaseas
  • the same amount of protein from the membrane EGTA extract as cytosol
  • gave a higher stimulation in the triggering assay, but
  • not in the priming assay (Fig. 2A). 

Fig 2A. measurements of range of [Ca2+]total - average [Ca2+]free values._page_004

Regular cytosol is prepared in a buffer containing 2 mM EGTA, and thus

  • presumably contains some of the proteins present in the membrane EGTA extract.
Cytosol prepared in the absence of EGTA showed an even lower specific activity
  • in the triggering assay compared with regular cytosol (Fig. 2A).

Identification of Calmodulin as an Active Triggering Factor in the EGTA Extract

Biochemical fractionation of the bovine brain membrane EGTA extract was carried out

  • to identify the active components capable of reconstituting NE release.

Activity was assayed in a composite reaction mixture containing

  • cracked cells,
  • ATP,
  • Ca2+, and
  • the test protein(s).

Except for the presence of bovine serum albumin in the basal buffer,

  • no other proteins were added to the cell ghosts except for the test protein(s).

Initial tests indicated that at least

  1. part of the activity in the membrane EGTA extract binds to and
  2. can be efficiently eluted from an anion exchanger and hydroxyapatite resin,
  3. but does not bind to Amicon color resins.

The starting material was, therefore, sequentially purified using

  • DEAE, Affi-Gel Blue (or Matrex Green-A), and gel filtration chromotography.

Gel filtration fractionation indicated the presence of two peaks of activity with

  • predicted molecular masses of 25 and 85 kDa, respectively (Fig. 3).

FIG. 3. Gel filtration chromatography reveals two stimulatory_page_004

FIG. 3. Gel filtration chromatography reveals two stimulatory factors in the membrane EGTA extract.

In order to purify the active component(s) in the membrane EGTA extract, the crude extract from one bovine brain was fractionated chromatographically (see Experimental Procedures” for details). Fractions from a Sephacryl S-200 gel filtration column were tested for their activity in stimulating NE release in the composite assay. The two activity peaks have predicted molecular masses of 85 and 25 kDa, respectively. The arrows indicate the retention volume of standard proteins run on the same column.

The low molecular weight active factor was purified to homogeneity, as judged by a

  • Coomassie-stained SDS-PAGE gel, after a subsequent Mono-Q fractionation (Fig. 4).

FIG. 4. The low molecular weight active factor is calmodulin_page_004

FIG. 4. The low molecular wen.ight active factor is calmodulin

A, the  membrane EGTA extract from one bovine brain (Start) was subjected to sequential fractionation on DEAE, Blue A, and
Sephacryl S-200 columns. The pooled material containing the activity after each chromotographic step was analyzed by SDS-
PAGE and Coomassie staining. The arrowheads indicate the presence of calmodulin in all the lanes. Calmodulin shows a
mobility shift depending on whether or not Ca2+ is present during electrophoresis (see panel C).
B, the active material  pooled from Sephacryl S-200 was fractionated on a Mono-Q FPLC column and the fractions
(5 ml/fraction) were tested for activity in a composite assay. The activity peak is shown.
C, the active Mono-Q fractions (5 ml/fraction) were subjected to SDS-PAGE in the presence of 1 mM EGTA or 0.1 mM Ca2+,
and the gels stained with Coomassie Blue.
D, fraction 47 (1 ml) was probed by Western blotting with a monoclonal anti-calmodulin antibody. No Ca2+ or EGTA was
added during SDS-PAGE.

We reasoned that the protein might be calmodulin (43) based on the following:

1) It is a relatively small protein (14–18 kDa) that is abundant in the
starting extract (Fig. 4A).
2) It elutes at a very high salt concentration (0.41 M KCl) on the
Mono-Q column.
3) It stains negatively in silver stain (data not shown).
4) Its electrophoretic mobility shifts depending on the presence or
absence of Ca21 (Fig. 4C).

A Western blot with an anti-calmodulin monoclonal antibody gave a
positive signal (Fig. 4D), confirming our prediction.

Properties of Calmodulin-stimulated Exocytosis

We used commercial calmodulin or bacterially expressed recombinant calmodulin to confirm our purification result; both sources of authentic calmodulin stimulated NE release as expected. Moreover, we found that calmodulin stimulates secretion in a triggering assay as well as in a composite assay (Fig. 5A).

FIG. 5A calmodulin action_page 5

The half-maximal increase was at 75 nM (250 ng/200 ml) final calmodulin concentration. This is within the broad
range of affinities between calmodulin and its various targets and suggests that the interaction between
calmodulin and its target molecule in exocytosis is in the physiological range. When the triggering reaction was
performed at different Ca2+ concentrations, calmodulin increased NE release only at high [Ca2+] (0.4 – 2 mM)
similar to the crude EGTA extract (Fig. 5B),

FIG. 5B calmodulin action_page_5

suggesting that calmodulin contributes to the triggering activity of the membrane EGTA extract.  Calmodulin’s affinity for Ca2+ has
been  reported to be around 1 mM (25),

  • consistent with the Ca2+ requirement for
  • calmodulin-stimulated secretion that we observed.

FIG. 5 calmodulin action_page_005

FIG. 5. Calmodulin stimulates NE release in the triggering stage.
A, calmodulin (obtained from Sigma) increased NE release in the
triggering assay in a dose-dependent fashion, in the absence of ATP
or any other cytosolic proteins. In this particular experiment, the
maximal release achieved by addition of rat brain cytosol was 46.5%.

B, the triggering assay was performed with different concentrations
of free Ca2+. Calmodulin (3 mg bacterially expressed recombinant
protein; closed squares) increased NE release with a similar Ca2+
sensitivity to rat brain membrane EGTA extract (10 mg; closed
triangles), as compared with conditions in which no protein was
added (open squares).

Western analysis with commercial protein as standards indicated that calmodulin 

  •  constitutes about 5% of total proteins in the rat brain membrane EGTA extract
  • and about 2% of total proteins in the rat brain cytosol (data not shown).

In addition, a significant amount of calmodulin appears to be left

  • in the washed cell ghosts (data not shown).

Based on the activity of saturating levels of

  • pure calmodulin (releasing 6–10% of total [3H]NE)
  • and crude EGTA extract (releasing ;45% of total [3H]NE),

we estimated that

  • calmodulin accounts for 13–22% of total activity of the extract.

Consistent with this,

  • a high affinity calmodulin-binding peptide
    (CaMKIIa(291–312) (44), used at 5 mM) and
  • an anti-calmodulin antibody (2 mg/200 ml)
  • inhibited about 20% of the membrane EGTA extract-stimulated release
    (6.7 mg of extract added; data not shown).

We showed that calmodulin increased NE release

  • in the triggering stage.

Since regular triggering reactions were performed

  • in the absence of any added ATP,

this suggests that

  • calmodulin enhanced secretion in an ATP-independent fashion.

Furthermore, residual ATP in the cell ghosts did not play a role, since

  •  addition of a hexokinase ATP depletion system that
  • can deplete millimolar concentrations of ATP
    • within a few minutes (11) had little effect, as did
    • addition of 5 mM AMPPNP,
  • which blocks ATP-dependent enzymatic activity (Fig.8A).

Therefore, we ruled out the possibility that a kinase mediates calmodulin’s effect.

FIG. 8. PKC and calmodulin stimulate... the late triggering reaction_page_006

FIG. 8. PKC and calmodulin stimulate the late triggering reaction in
an ATP-dependent and ATP-independent manner respectively.
A, triggering assays were performed to test the activity of calmodulin
(recombinant; black bars) and PKC (purified rat brain PKC from
Calbiochem; shaded bars) in the absence of ATP. A regular triggering
assay is done in the absence of ATP (2ATP). To deplete residual ATP
in the cells, hexokinase-based ATP depletion was employed (1Hexo).
Alternatively, 5 mM AMP-PNP (1AMP-PNP) was added in the triggering
reaction. Under all three conditions, calmodulin increased release
as compared with the background (buffer only; white bars), whereas
PKC did not.
B, NE release in a composite assay was measured with varying
concentrations of free Ca2+ in the presence of 10 mg of calmodulin
(recombinant; closed triangles), 70 ng of PKC  (purified rat brain PKC
from Calbiochem; closed squares), or buffer only (open squares).

A series of calmodulin mutants from Paramecium and chicken were tested

  • for their ability to enhance Ca2+-stimulated secretion, and
  • none of the mutations abolished the calmodulin effect (data not shown).

These mutations include

  • S101F, M145V, E54K, G40E/D50N, V35I/D50N within Paramecium
  • calmodulin (45), and M124Q, M51A/V55A, and M51A/V55A/L32A
    within chicken calmodulin (46, 47).

The Paramecium calmodulin mutants are the result of

  • naturally occurring mutations that result in aberrations in their behavior.

These mutants can be grouped into two categories according to their
behavior, reflecting their loss of either

  1. a Ca2+-dependent Na1 current
     (calmodulin N-terminal lobe mutants: E54K, G40E/D50N, and
     V35I/D50N) or
  2. a Ca21-dependent K1 current
    (calmodulin C-terminal lobe mutants: S101F and M145V) (45).

The chicken calmodulin mutants have been shown to

  • differentially activate myosin light chain kinase
    (M124Q, M51A/V55A, and M51A/V55A/L32A),
    CaMKII (M124Q),  
    and CaMKIV (M124Q),

and the mutated residues are thought to be important in

  • defining calmodulin’s binding specificity (46, 47).

Our finding that these mutant calmodulins can stimulate exocytosis suggests that

  • calmodulin-binding domains similar to those of Paramecium Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent
    ion channels, myosin light chain kinase, CaMKII, and CaMKIV,
  • are unlikely to mediate release utilizing the conserved SNARE fusion machinery, as they
  • could be completely abolished by addition of exogenous syntaxin H3 domains (data not shown).
  • the same molecular pathway was not activated, since their effects were additive (data not shown).


We thank Diana Bautista and Dr. Richard S.Lewis for generous help
with [Ca21]free determination; Dr. Ching Kung for providing the Paramecium calmodulin
mutants, and Dr. Anthony R. Means for providing the chicken calmodulin mutants. We also
thank Dr. Jesse C. Hay for the initial setup of the cracked cell assay, and Dr. Suzie J.
Scales for helpful comments on the manuscript.


1. Calakos, N., and Scheller, R. H. (1996) Physiol. Rev. 76, 1–29
2. Su¨ dhof, T. C. (1995) Nature 375, 645–653
3. Zucker, R. S. (1996) Neuron 17, 1049–1055
4. Hanson, P. I., Heuser, J. E., and Jahn, R. (1997) Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 7, 310–315
5. Chen, Y. A., Scales, S. J., Patel, S. M., Doung, Y.-C., and Scheller, R. H. (1999) Cell 97, 165–174
6. Neher, E., and Zucker, R. S. (1993) Neuron 10, 21–30
7. Kamiya, H., and Zucker, R. S. (1994) Nature 371, 603–606

Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

The role of ion channels in Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase: regulation of ion transport across the plasma membrane has been studies by our Team in 2012 and 2013. Chiefly, our sources of inspiration were the following:

1. 2013 Nobel work on vesicles and calcium flux at the neuromuscular junction Machinery Regulating Vesicle Traffic, A Major Transport System in our Cells The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded to Dr. James E. Rothman, Dr. Randy W. Schekman and Dr. Thomas C. Südhof

  • for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic,
  • a major transport system in our cells.

This represents a paradigm shift in our understanding of how the eukaryotic cell, with its complex internal compartmentalization, organizes

  • the routing of molecules packaged in vesicles
  • to various intracellular destinations,
  • as well as to the outside of the cell

Specificity in the delivery of molecular cargo is essential for cell function and survival.


Synaptotagmin functions as a Calcium Sensor: How Calcium Ions Regulate the fusion of vesicles with
cell membranes during Neurotransmission

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


2. Perspectives on Nitric Oxide in Disease Mechanisms

available on Kindle Store @ Amazon.com



3. Professor David Lichtstein, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dean, School of Medicine

Lichtstein’s main research focus is the regulation of ion transport across the plasma membrane of eukaryotic cells.

His work led to the discovery that specific steroids that have crucial roles, as

  • the regulation of cell viability,
  • heart contractility,
  • blood pressure and
  • brain function.

His research has implications for the fundamental understanding of body functions,

  • as well as for several pathological states such as
    • heart failure, hypertension
    • and neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Physiologist, Professor Lichtstein, Chair in Heart Studies at The Hebrew University elected
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


4. Professor Roger J. Hajjar, MD at Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Calcium Cycling (ATPase Pump) in Cardiac Gene Therapy: Inhalable Gene Therapy for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
and Percutaneous Intra-coronary Artery Infusion for Heart Failure: Contributions by Roger J. Hajjar, MD

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


5.            Seminal Curations by Dr. Aviva Lev-Ari on Genetics and Genomics of Cardiovascular Diseases with a focus on Conduction and Cardiac Contractility

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN and Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP

Justin Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC, Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

6. Atherosclerosis Independence: Genetic Polymorphisms of Ion Channels Role in the Pathogenesis of Coronary Microvascular Dysfunction and Myocardial Ischemia (Coronary Artery Disease (CAD))

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


This study presents  the possible correlation between Myocardial Ischemia (Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)) aka Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) genes encoding several regulators involved in Coronary Blood Flow Regulation (CBFR), including

  • ion channels acting in vascular smooth muscle and/or
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They completely analyzed exon 3 of both KCNJ8 and KCNJ11 genes (Kir6.1 and Kir6.2 subunit, respectively) as well as

  • the whole coding region of KCN5A gene (Kv1.5 channel).

The work suggests certain genetic polymorphisms may represent a non-modifiable protective factor that could be

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    • an independent protective role of the
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Other related articles published on this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

ION CHANNEL and Cardiovascular Diseases


Calcium Role in Cardiovascular Diseases

Part I: Identification of Biomarkers that are Related to the Actin Cytoskeleton
Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP

Part II: Role of Calcium, the Actin Skeleton, and Lipid Structures in Signaling and Cell Motility
Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Stephen Williams, PhD and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Part III: Renal Distal Tubular Ca2+ Exchange Mechanism in Health and Disease
Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Stephen J. Williams, PhD
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Part IV: The Centrality of Ca(2+) Signaling and Cytoskeleton Involving Calmodulin Kinases and
Ryanodine Receptors in Cardiac Failure, Arterial Smooth Muscle, Post-ischemic Arrhythmia,
Similarities and Differences, and Pharmaceutical Targets
Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Justin Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Part V: Ca2+-Stimulated Exocytosis:  The Role of Calmodulin and Protein Kinase C in Ca2+ Regulation of Hormone and Neurotransmitter

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP
Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


Part VI: Calcium Cycling (ATPase Pump) in Cardiac Gene Therapy: Inhalable Gene Therapy for Pulmonary

Arterial Hypertension and Percutaneous Intra-coronary Artery Infusion for Heart Failure: Contributions by Roger J. Hajjar, MD
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Part VII: Cardiac Contractility & Myocardium Performance: Ventricular Arrhythmias and Non-ischemic Heart Failure –
Therapeutic Implications for Cardiomyocyte Ryanopathy (Calcium Release-related Contractile Dysfunction) and Catecholamine Responses
Justin Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC, Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Part VIII: Disruption of Calcium Homeostasis: Cardiomyocytes and Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells:
The Cardiac and Cardiovascular Calcium Signaling Mechanism
Justin Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC, Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Part IX: Calcium-Channel Blockers, Calcium Release-related Contractile Dysfunction
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Justin Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC, Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Part X: Synaptotagmin functions as a Calcium Sensor: How Calcium Ions Regulate the fusion of
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Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

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Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN



Mitochondria and its Role in Cardiovascular Diseases

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