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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 May 22;104(21):8755-60. Epub 2007 May 14.

Trans-SNARE complex assembly and yeast vacuole membrane fusion.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Dartmouth Medical School, 7200 Vail Building, Hanover, NH 03755-3844, USA.


cis-SNARE complexes (anchored in one membrane) are disassembled by Sec17p (alpha-SNAP) and Sec18p (NSF), permitting the unpaired SNAREs to assemble in trans. We now report a direct assay of trans-SNARE complex formation during yeast vacuole docking. SNARE complex assembly and fusion is promoted by high concentrations of the SNARE Vam7p or Nyv1p or by addition of HOPS (homotypic fusion and vacuole protein sorting), a Ypt7p (Rab)-effector complex with a Sec1/Munc18-family subunit. Inhibitors that target Ypt7p, HOPS, or key regulatory lipids prevent trans-SNARE complex assembly and ensuing fusion. Strikingly, the lipid ligand MED (myristoylated alanine-rich C kinase substrate effector domain) or elevated concentrations of Sec17p, which can displace HOPS from SNARE complexes, permit full trans-SNARE pairing but block fusion. These findings suggest that efficient fusion requires trans-SNARE complex associations with factors such as HOPS and subsequent regulated lipid rearrangements.

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