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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Palmitoylation controls trafficking of GAD65 from Golgi membranes to axon-specific endosomes and a Rab5a-dependent pathway to presynaptic clusters.

The GABA-synthesizing enzyme GAD65 is synthesized as a soluble cytosolic protein but undergoes post-translational modification(s) to become anchored to the cytosolic face of Golgi membranes before targeting to synaptic vesicle membranes in neuroendocrine cells. Palmitoylation of cysteines 30 and 45 in GAD65 is not required for targeting to Golgi membranes but is crucial for post-Golgi trafficking to presynaptic clusters in neurons. Here, we show that palmitoylated GAD65 colocalizes with the small GTP- binding protein Rab5a in Golgi membranes and in axons but not in dendrites. In the presence of the constitutively positive mutant Rab5(Q79L) palmitoylation resulted in polarized targeting of GAD65 to giant Rab5a-positive axonal endosomes, characterized by the absence of the Rab5a-effector molecule EEA1 and the transferrin receptor. By contrast, Rab5a-positive/EEA1-positive somatodendritic giant endosomes containing the transferrin receptor were devoid of GAD65. Palmitoylation-deficient GAD65 was excluded from endosomal compartments. A dominant negative mutant of Rab5a, Rab5a(S34N), specifically blocked axonal trafficking and presynaptic clustering of palmitoylated GAD65, but did not affect axonal trafficking of mutants of GAD65 that fail to traffic to giant axonal endosomes containing Rab5a(Q79L). Two transmembrane synaptic vesicle proteins, VAMP2 and VGAT also localized to the axonal giant endosomes, and their axonal trafficking and presynaptic clustering was blocked by Rab5a(S34N). The results suggest that palmitoylation of GAD65 regulates the trafficking of the protein from Golgi membranes to an endosomal trafficking pathway in axons that is dependent on Rab5a and is required for the targeting of several synaptic vesicle proteins to presynaptic clusters.[1]


  1. Palmitoylation controls trafficking of GAD65 from Golgi membranes to axon-specific endosomes and a Rab5a-dependent pathway to presynaptic clusters. Kanaani, J., Diacovo, M.J., El-Husseini, A.e.l.-.D., Bredt, D.S., Baekkeskov, S. J. Cell. Sci. (2004) [Pubmed]
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