The Latrophilin family of G protein-coupled receptors consists of three members, latrophilin-1, 2 and 3, each of which displays distinct tissue distribution and function. Latrophilin-1, the most characterized member of this family, acts as a receptor for a-latrotoxin, a component of venom from the black widow spider. Binding of a-latrotoxin to latrophilin-1 triggers synaptic vesicle exocytosis via both Ca2+-dependent and -independent mechanisms, resulting in vesicle depletion. Latrophilin-1 is abundant in brain and present in endocrine cells. Latrophilin-3 is also brain-specific, whereas latrophilin-2 expression is ubiquitous.
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