A de novo missense mutation in synaptotagmin-1 associated with neurodevelopmental disorder desynchronizes neurotransmitter release

Maaike A. van Boven, Marta Mestroni, Petra J. G. Zwijnenburg, Matthijs Verhage, L. Niels Cornelisse

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Synaptotagmin-1 (Syt1) is a presynaptic calcium sensor with two calcium binding domains, C2A and C2B, that triggers action potential-induced synchronous neurotransmitter release, while suppressing asynchronous and spontaneous release. We identified a de novo missense mutation (P401L) in the C2B domain in a patient with developmental delay and autistic symptoms. Expressing the orthologous mouse mutant (P400L) in cultured Syt1 null mutant neurons revealed a reduction in dendrite outgrowth with a proportional reduction in synapses. This was not observed in single Syt1PL-rescued neurons that received normal synaptic input when cultured in a control network. Patch-clamp recordings showed that spontaneous miniature release events per synapse were increased more than 500% in Syt1PL-rescued neurons, even beyond the increased rates in Syt1 KO neurons. Furthermore, action potential-induced asynchronous release was increased more than 100%, while synchronous release was unaffected. A similar shift to more asynchronous release was observed during train stimulations. These cellular phenotypes were also observed when Syt1PL was overexpressed in wild type neurons. Our findings show that Syt1PL desynchronizes neurotransmission by increasing the readily releasable pool for asynchronous release and reducing the suppression of spontaneous and asynchronous release. Neurons respond to this by shortening their dendrites, possibly to counteract the increased synaptic input. Syt1PL acts in a dominant-negative manner supporting a causative role for the mutation in the heterozygous patient. We propose that the substitution of a rigid proline to a more flexible leucine at the bottom of the C2B domain impairs clamping of release by interfering with Syt1’s primary interface with the SNARE complex. This is a novel cellular phenotype, distinct from what was previously found for other SYT1 disease variants, and points to a role for spontaneous and asynchronous release in SYT1-associated neurodevelopmental disorder.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular psychiatry
Early online date2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

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