SNAP-25 is a component of the SNARE complex implicated in synaptic vesicle exocytosis. In this study, we demonstrate that hippocampal GABAergic synapses, both in culture and in brain, lack SNAP-25 and are resistant to the action of botulinum toxins type A and E, which cleave this SNARE protein. Relative to glutamatergic neurons, which express SNAP-25, GABAergic cells were characterized by a higher calcium responsiveness to depolarization. Exogenous expression of SNAP-25 in GABAergic interneurons lowered calcium responsiveness, and SNAP-25 silencing in glutamatergic neurons increased calcium elevations evoked by depolarization. Expression of SNAP-251-197 but not of SNAP-251-180 inhibited calcium responsiveness, pointing to the involvement of the 180-197 residues in the observed function. These data indicate that SNAP-25 is crucial for the regulation of intracellular calcium dynamics and, possibly, of network excitability. SNAP-25 is therefore a multifunctional protein that participates in exocytotic function both at the mechanistic and at the regulatory level.
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