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Author Notes:

Corresponding Author: Manuel Yepes, Department of Neurology & Center for Neurodegenerative Disease, Emory University, Whitehead Biomedical Research Building, 615 Michael Street, Suite 505J, Atlanta, GA 30322. Telephone: 404 712 8358. Fax: 404-727 3728. myepes@emory.edu.


Research Funding:

This work has been supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grants NS-079331 (to MY) and NS-091201 (to MY).


  • tissue-type plasminogen activator
  • Plasminogen
  • Plasmin
  • synaptic vesicle
  • endocytosis

Tissue-type plasminogen activator induces synaptic vesicle endocytosis in cerebral cortical neurons


Journal Title:



Volume 319


, Pages 69-78

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


The release of the serine proteinase tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) from the presynaptic terminal of cerebral cortical neurons plays a central role in the development of synaptic plasticity, adaptation to metabolic stress and neuronal survival. Our earlier studies indicate that by inducing the recruitment of the cytoskeletal protein βII-spectrin and voltage-gated calcium channels to the active zone (AZ), tPA promotes Ca2+-dependent translocation of synaptic vesicles (SVs) to the synaptic release site where they release their load of neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft. Here we used a combination of in vivo and in vitro experiments to investigate whether this effect leads to depletion of SVs in the presynaptic terminal. Our data indicate that tPA promotes SVs endocytosis via a mechanism that does not require the conversion of plasminogen into plasmin. Instead, we show that tPA induces calcineurin (CaN) - mediated dynamin I dephosphorylation, which is followed by dynamin I-induced recruitment of the actin binding protein profilin II to the presynaptic membrane, and profilin II-induced F-actin formation. We report that this tPA-induced sequence of events leads to the association of newly formed SVs with F-actin clusters in the endocytic zone. In summary, the data presented here indicate that following the exocytotic release of neurotransmitters tPA activates the mechanism whereby SVs are retrieved from the presynaptic membrane and endocytosed to replenish the pool of vesicles available for a new cycle of exocytosis. Together, these results indicate that in cerebral cortical neurons tPA plays a central role coupling SVs exocytosis and endocytosis.

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Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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