Probing the Diacylglycerol Binding Site of Presynaptic Munc13-1. Academic Article uri icon


  • Munc13-1 is a presynaptic active zone protein that acts as a master regulator of synaptic vesicle priming and neurotransmitter release in the brain. It has been implicated in the pathophysiology of several neurodegenerative diseases. Diacylglycerol and phorbol ester activate Munc13-1 by binding to its C1 domain. The objective of this study is to identify the structural determinants of ligand binding activity of the Munc13-1 C1 domain. Molecular docking suggested that residues Trp-588, Ile-590, and Arg-592 of Munc13-1 are involved in ligand interactions. To elucidate the role of these three residues in ligand binding, we generated W588A, I590A, and R592A mutants in full-length Munc13-1, expressed them as GFP-tagged proteins in HT22 cells, and measured their ligand-induced membrane translocation by confocal microscopy and immunoblotting. The extent of 1,2-dioctanoyl-sn-glycerol (DOG)- and phorbol ester-induced membrane translocation decreased in the following order: wild type > I590A > W588A > R592A and wild type > W588A > I590A > R592A, respectively. To understand the effect of the mutations on ligand binding, we also measured the DOG binding affinity of the isolated wild-type C1 domain and its mutants in membrane-mimicking micelles using nuclear magnetic resonance methods. The DOG binding affinity decreased in the following order: wild type > I590A > R592A. No binding was detected for W588A with DOG in micelles. This study shows that Trp-588, Ile-590, and Arg-592 are essential determinants for the activity of Munc13-1 and the effects of the three residues on the activity are ligand-dependent. This study bears significance for the development of selective modulators of Munc13-1.

published proceedings

  • Biochemistry

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • You, Y., Katti, S., Yu, B., Igumenova, T. I., & Das, J.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • You, Youngki||Katti, Sachin||Yu, Binhan||Igumenova, Tatyana I||Das, Joydip

publication date

  • April 2021