Munc13 controls the location and efficiency of dense-core vesicle release in neurons.
van de Bospoort R, Farina M, Schmitz SK, de Jong A, de Wit H, Verhage M, Toonen RF.
Neuronal dense-core vesicles (DCVs) contain diverse cargo crucial for brain development and function, but the mechanisms that control their release are largely unknown. We quantified activity-dependent DCV release in hippocampal neurons at single vesicle resolution. DCVs fused preferentially at synaptic terminals. DCVs also fused at extrasynaptic sites but only after prolonged stimulation. In munc13-1/2-null mutant neurons, synaptic DCV release was reduced but not abolished, and synaptic preference was lost. The remaining fusion required prolonged stimulation, similar to extrasynaptic fusion in wild-type neurons. Conversely, Munc13-1 overexpression (M13OE) promoted extrasynaptic DCV release, also without prolonged stimulation. Thus, Munc13-1/2 facilitate DCV fusion but, unlike for synaptic vesicles, are not essential for DCV release, and M13OE is sufficient to produce efficient DCV release extrasynaptically.