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Dayanithi, G.; Weller, U.; Ahnert-Hilger, G.; Lnk, H.; Nordmann, J. J.; Gratzl, Manfred (1992): The light chain of tetanus toxin inhibits calcium-dependent vasopressin release from permeabilized nerve endings. In: Neuroscience, Vol. 46: pp. 489-493


The effects of tetanus toxin and its light and heavy chain subunits on vasopressin release were investigated in digitonin-permeabilized neurosecretory nerve terminals isolated from the neural lobe of the rat pituitary gland. Exocytosis was induced by challenging the permeabilized nerve endings with micromolar calcium concentrations. Tetanus toxin inhibited vasopressin release only in the presence of the reducing agent dithiothreitol. This effect was irreversible. The purified light chain of tetanus toxin strongly inhibited exocytosis in a dose-dependent manner with half-maximal effect at c. 10 nM. The action of the light chain was observed after only 2.5 min of preincubation. Separated heavy chain subunit had no effect on hormone secretion. Inhibition of vasopressin release could be prevented by preincubating the light chain of tetanus toxin with an immune serum against tetanus toxin. The data clearly demonstrate that in mammalian neurosecretory nerve endings tetanus toxin acts at a step downstream from the activation by Ca2+ of the exocytotic machinery and that the functional domain of this toxin is confined to its light chain.