Regulated exocytosis enables temporal and spatial control over the secretion of biologically active compounds; however, the mechanism by which Ca2+
modulates different stages of exocytosis is still poorly understood. For an unbiased, top-down proteomic approach, select thiol- reactive reagents were used to investigate this process in release-ready native secretory vesicles. We previously characterized a biphasic effect of these reagents on Ca2+
-triggered exocytosis: low doses potentiated Ca2+
sensitivity, whereas high doses inhibited Ca2+
sensitivity and extent of vesicle fusion. Capitalizing on this novel potentiating effect, we have now identified fluorescent thiol- reactive reagents producing the same effects: Lucifer yellow iodoacetamide, monobromobimane, and dibromobimane. Top-down proteomic analyses of fluorescently labeled proteins from total and cholesterol-enriched vesicle membrane fractions using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis coupled with mass spectrometry identified several candidate targets, some of which have been previously linked to the late steps of regulated exocytosis and some of which are novel. Initial validation studies indicate that Rab proteins are involved in the modulation of Ca2+
sensitivity, and thus the efficiency of membrane fusion, which may, in part, be linked to their previously identified upstream roles in vesicle docking.
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