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Science 310 (5754): 1626-1627

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Enhanced: Synaptic Membranes Bend to the Will of a Neurotoxin

Joshua Zimmerberg and Leonid V. Chernomordik

In their Perspective, Zimmerberg and Chernomordik discuss the study by Rigoni et al. In the same issue that shows how the lipid products of a phospholipase present in snake venom reproduce the known paralytic effect of the lipase itself on presynaptic action in the neuromuscular junction. The lipid products shift the curvature of synaptic membranes toward or away from intermediate states of membrane fusion. This suggests a hemifusion intermediate state in synaptic vesicle release and explains the existence of rapid and spontaneous neurotransmitter release from vesicles.

The authors are in the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biophysics, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-1855, USA. E-mail: joshz{at}, chernoml{at}

Characterisation of Weibel-Palade body fusion by amperometry in endothelial cells reveals fusion pore dynamics and the effect of cholesterol on exocytosis.
E. A. Cookson, I. L. Conte, J. Dempster, M. J. Hannah, and T. Carter (2013)
J. Cell Sci. 126, 5490-5499
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Calcium Influx and Mitochondrial Alterations at Synapses Exposed to Snake Neurotoxins or Their Phospholipid Hydrolysis Products.
M. Rigoni, P. Pizzo, G. Schiavo, A. E. Weston, G. Zatti, P. Caccin, O. Rossetto, T. Pozzan, and C. Montecucco (2007)
J. Biol. Chem. 282, 11238-11245
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Membranes of the world unite!.
L. V. Chernomordik, J. Zimmerberg, and M. M. Kozlov (2006)
J. Cell Biol. 175, 201-207
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

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