Non-secretory exocytoses in the brain

Emanuele Cocucci, Anna Lorusso, Gabriela Naum Ongania, Andrijana Klajn, Jacopo Meldolesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Regulated exocytosis, the process by which the membrane of specific cytoplasmic organelles fuse with the plasma membrane in response to adequate stimulation, is most often considered to serve only for the discharge of secretory products, in the brain especially neurotransmitters and peptides. Growing evidence demonstrates however that non-secretory exocytoses, aimed at the insertion at the cell surface of the organelle membrane, are of great physiological importance and may also have critical roles in specific diseases. Recently, two groups of non-secretory exocytoses have been identified: those aimed at the transfer to the cell surface of specific proteins, that we have proposed to be called the protein-exposing exocytoses; and those aimed at the enlargement of the surface itself, the expansive exocytoses. Here we present the existing knowledge about three types of non-secretory exocytoses that occur in the brain: the protein-exposing exocytoses that transfer ionic receptors to the postsynaptic membrane, the best known example being that of the glutamatergic AMPA receptor, a main actor of synaptic plasticity; the expansive exocytosis necessary for the growth of nerve fibres; and the rapid exocytosis of enlargeosomes, that can induce considerable expansion of the cell surface area in a variety of cells types, including the astrocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-145
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physiology Paris
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Expansive exocytosis
  • Non-secretory exocytosis
  • Protein-exposing exocytosis
  • Rapid exocytosis of enlargeosomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology (medical)


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