Stoned B mediates sorting of integral synaptic vesicle proteins
A continuous supply of fusion-competent synaptic vesicles is essential for sustainable neurotransmission. Drosophila mutations of the dicistronic stoned locus disrupt normal vesicle cycling and cause functional deficits in synaptic transmission. Although both Stoned A and B proteins putatively participate in reconstituting synaptic vesicles, their precise function is still unclear. Here we investigate the effects of progressive depletion of Stoned B protein (STNB) on the release properties of neuromuscular synapses using a novel set of synthetic stnB hypomorphic alleles. Decreasing neuronal STNB expression to @?35% of wild-type level causes a strong reduction in excitatory junctional current amplitude at low stimulation frequencies and a marked slowing in synaptic depression during high-frequency stimulation, suggesting vesicle depletion is attenuated by decreased release probability. Recovery from synaptic depression after prolonged stimulation is also decelerated in mutants, indicating a delayed recovery of fusion-ready vesicles. These phenotypes appear not to be due to a diminished vesicle population, since the docked vesicle pool is ultrastructurally unaffected, and the total number of vesicles is only slightly reduced in these hypomorphs, unlike lethal stoned mutants. Therefore, we conclude that STNB not only functions as an essential component of the endocytic complex for vesicle reconstitution, as previously proposed, but also regulates the competence of recycled vesicles to undergo fusion. In support of such role of STNB, synaptic levels of the vesicular glutamate transporter (vGLUT) and synaptotagmin-1 are strongly reduced with diminishing STNB function, while other synaptic proteins are largely unaffected. We conclude that STNB organizes the endocytic sorting of a subset of integral synaptic vesicle proteins thereby regulating the fusion-competence of the recycled vesicle.
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