Synapsins are synaptic vesicle-associated phosphoproteins involved in synapse formation and regulation of neurotransmitter release. Recently, synapsin I has been found to bind the Src homology 3 (SH3) domains of Grb2 and c-Src. In this work we have analyzed the interactions between synapsins and an array of SH3 domains belonging to proteins involved in signal transduction, cytoskeleton assembly, or endocytosis. The binding of synapsin I was specific for a subset of SH3 domains. The highest binding was observed with SH3 domains of c-Src, phospholipase C-γ, p85 subunit of phosphatidyl-inositol 3-kinase, full-length and NH2-terminal Grb2, whereas binding was moderate with the SH3 domains of amphiphysins I/II, Crk, α-spectrin, and NADPH oxidase factor p47phox and negligible with the SH3 domains of p21ras GTPase-activating protein and COOH-terminal Grb2. Distinct sites in the proline-rich COOH-terminal region of synapsin I were found to be involved in binding to the various SH3 domains. Synapsin II also interacted with SH3 domains with a partly distinct binding pattern. Phosphorylation of synapsin I in the COOH-terminal region by Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II or mitogen-activated protein kinase modulated the binding to the SH3 domains of amphiphysins I/II, Crk, and α-spectrin without affecting the high affinity interactions. The SH3-mediated interaction of synapsin I with amphiphysins affected the ability of synapsin I to interact with actin and synaptic vesicles, and pools of synapsin I and amphiphysin I were shown to associate in isolated nerve terminals. The ability to bind multiple SH3 domains further implicates the synapsins in signal transduction and protein-protein interactions at the nerve terminal level.
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