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N-ethylmaleimide–sensitive factor) is an adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) that contributes to a protein complex essential for membrane fusion. The synaptic functio of this protein was investigated by injecting, into the giant presynaptic terminal of squid, peptides that inhibit the ATPase activity of NSF stimulated by the soluble NSF attachment protein (SNAP). These peptides reduced the amount and slowed the kinetics of neurotransmitter release as a result of actions that required vesicle turnover and occurred at a step subsequent to vesicle docking. These results define NSF as an essential participant in synaptic vesicle exocytosis that regulates the kinetics of neurotransmitter release and, thereby, the integrative properties of synapses.
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