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The SNARE Protein Syntaxin 3 Confers Specificity for Polarized Axonal Trafficking in Neurons.

  • Author(s): Soo Hoo, Linda
  • Banna, Chris D
  • Radeke, Carolyn M
  • Sharma, Nikunj
  • Albertolle, Mary E
  • Low, Seng Hui
  • Weimbs, Thomas
  • Vandenberg, Carol A
  • et al.

Cell polarity and precise subcellular protein localization are pivotal to neuronal function. The SNARE machinery underlies intracellular membrane fusion events, but its role in neuronal polarity and selective protein targeting remain unclear. Here we report that syntaxin 3 is involved in orchestrating polarized trafficking in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. We show that syntaxin 3 localizes to the axonal plasma membrane, particularly to axonal tips, whereas syntaxin 4 localizes to the somatodendritic plasma membrane. Disruption of a conserved N-terminal targeting motif, which causes mislocalization of syntaxin 3, results in coincident mistargeting of the axonal cargos neuron-glia cell adhesion molecule (NgCAM) and neurexin, but not transferrin receptor, a somatodendritic cargo. Similarly, RNAi-mediated knockdown of endogenous syntaxin 3 leads to partial mistargeting of NgCAM, demonstrating that syntaxin 3 plays an important role in its targeting. Additionally, overexpression of syntaxin 3 results in increased axonal growth. Our findings suggest an important role for syntaxin 3 in maintaining neuronal polarity and in the critical task of selective trafficking of membrane protein to axons.

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