Genetic ablation of the t-SNARE SNAP-25 distinguishes mechanisms of neuroexocytosis.
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Axon outgrowth during development and neurotransmitter release depends on exocytotic mechanisms, although what protein machinery is common to or differentiates these processes remains unclear. Here we show that the neural t-SNARE (target-membrane-associated-soluble N-ethylmaleimide fusion protein attachment protein (SNAP) receptor) SNAP-25 is not required for nerve growth or stimulus-independent neurotransmitter release, but is essential for evoked synaptic transmission at neuromuscular junctions and central synapses. These results demonstrate that the development of neurotransmission requires the recruitment of a specialized SNARE core complex to meet the demands of regulated exocytosis.