The role of lipid binding for the targeting of synaptic proteins into synaptic vesicles

Synaptic vesicles (SVs) are key structures for synaptic transmission in neurons. Numerous membrane-associated proteins are sorted from the Golgi complex to the axon and the presynaptic terminal. Protein-protein and protein-lipid interactions are involved with SV targeting in neurons. Interestingly, many SV proteins have lipid binding capability, primarily with either cholesterol or phosphoinositides (PIs). As examples, the major SV protein synaptophysin can bind to cholesterol, a major lipid component in SVs, while several other SV proteins, including synaptotagmin, can bind to PIs. Thus, lipid-protein binding plays a key role for the SV targeting of synaptic proteins. In addition, numerous SV proteins can be palmitoylated. Palmitoylation is thought to be another synaptic targeting signal. Here, we briefly describe the relationship between lipid binding and SV targeting. [BMB reports 2009; 42(1): 1-5].