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Gene Family: Synapsins (SYN)

Synapsin: The synapsins are a family of proteins that have long been implicated in the regulation of neurotransmitter release at synapses. Specifically, they are thought to be involved in regulating the number of synaptic vesicles available for release via exocytosis at any one time. Synapsins are present in invertebrates and vertebrates and are somewhat homologous across evaluated vertebrates. Current studies suggest the following hypothesis for the role of synapsin: synapsins bind synaptic vesicles to components of the cytoskeleton which prevents them from migrating to the presynaptic membrane and releasing neurotransmitter. During an action potential, synapsins are phosphorylated by PKA (cAMP dependent protein kinase), releasing the synaptic vesicles and allowing them to move to the membrane and release their neurotransmitter. Gene knockout studies in mice (where the mouse is unable to produce synapsin) have had some surprising results. Mice lacking all three synapsins are prone to seizures, and experience learning defects. These results suggest that while synapsins are not essential for synaptic function, they do serve an important modulatory role. Conversely, studies using transgenic mice in which neuronal signaling is abolished in specific circuitries showed that synaptic activity regulates, but is not essential to maintain, the expression of these proteins. [Source: Wikipedia]

Genes contained within the family: 3

Approved Symbol Approved Name Previous Symbols Synonyms Chromosome
SYN1 synapsin I Xp11.3-p11.23
SYN2 synapsin II SYNII, SYNIIa, SYNIIb 3p25.2
SYN3 synapsin III 22q12.3