Ca 2+ -dependent activator protein for secretion 1 (CAPS1) plays a regulatory role in the dense-core vesicle (DCV) exocytosis pathway, but its functions at the cellular and synaptic levels in the brain are essentially unknown because of neonatal death soon after birth in Caps1 knock-out mice. To clarify the functions of the protein in the brain, we generated two conditional knock-out (cKO) mouse lines: 1) one lacking Caps1 in the forebrain; and 2) the other lacking Caps1 in the cerebellum. Both cKO mouse lines were born normally and grew to adulthood, although they showed subcellular and synaptic abnormalities. Forebrain-specific Caps1 cKO mice showed reduced immunoreactivity for the DCV marker secretogranin II (SgII) and the trans-Golgi network (TGN) marker syntaxin 6, a reduced number of presynaptic DCVs, and dilated trans-Golgi cisternae in the CA3 region. Cerebellum-specific Caps1 cKO mice had decreased immunoreactivity for SgII and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) along the climbing fibers. At climbing fiber-Purkinje cell synapses, the number of DCVs was markedly lower and the number of synaptic vesicles was also reduced. Correspondingly, the mean amplitude of EPSCs was decreased, whereas paired-pulse depression was significantly increased. Our results suggest that loss of CAPS1 disrupts the TGN-DCV pathway, which possibly impairs synaptic transmission by reducing the presynaptic release probability.
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