Munc18-2, but not Munc18-1 or Munc18-3, controls compound and single-vesicle-regulated exocytosis in mast cells

Berenice A Gutierrez, Miguel A Chavez, Alejandro I Rodarte, Marco A Ramos, Andrea Dominguez, Youlia Petrova, Alfredo J Davalos, Renan M Costa, Ramon Elizondo, Michael J Tuvim, Burton F Dickey, Alan R Burns, Ruth Heidelberger, Roberto Adachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Mast cells (MCs) play pivotal roles in many inflammatory conditions including infections, anaphylaxis, and asthma. MCs store immunoregulatory compounds in their large cytoplasmic granules and, upon stimulation, secrete them via regulated exocytosis. Exocytosis in many cells requires the participation of Munc18 proteins (also known as syntaxin-binding proteins), and we found that mature MCs express all three mammalian isoforms: Munc18-1, -2, and -3. To study their functions in MC effector responses and test the role of MC degranulation in anaphylaxis, we used conditional knockout (cKO) mice in which each Munc18 protein was deleted exclusively in MCs. Using recordings of plasma membrane capacitance for high-resolution analysis of exocytosis in individual MCs, we observed an almost complete absence of exocytosis in Munc18-2-deficient MCs but intact exocytosis in MCs lacking Munc18-1 or Munc18-3. Stereological analysis of EM images of stimulated MCs revealed that the deletion of Munc18-2 also abolishes the homotypic membrane fusion required for compound exocytosis. We confirmed the severe defect in regulated exocytosis in the absence of Munc18-2 by measuring the secretion of mediators stored in MC granules. Munc18-2 cKO mice had normal morphology, development, and distribution of their MCs, indicating that Munc18-2 is not essential for the migration, retention, and maturation of MC-committed progenitors. Despite that, we found that Munc18-2 cKO mice were significantly protected from anaphylaxis. In conclusion, MC-regulated exocytosis is required for the anaphylactic response, and Munc18-2 is the sole Munc18 isoform that mediates membrane fusion during MC degranulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7148-7159
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of biological chemistry
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 11 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Anaphylaxis/physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Cell Degranulation
  • Exocytosis/physiology
  • Gene Deletion
  • Mast Cells/metabolism
  • Membrane Fusion/physiology
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Munc18 Proteins/genetics
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques


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