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PLoS Biol. 2012 Jan;10(1):e1001243. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001243. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

Sequential analysis of trans-SNARE formation in intracellular membrane fusion.

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  • 1Verna and Marrs McLean Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States of America.

Abstract

SNARE complexes are required for membrane fusion in the endomembrane system. They contain coiled-coil bundles of four helices, three (Q(a), Q(b), and Q(c)) from target (t)-SNAREs and one (R) from the vesicular (v)-SNARE. NSF/Sec18 disrupts these cis-SNARE complexes, allowing reassembly of their subunits into trans-SNARE complexes and subsequent fusion. Studying these reactions in native yeast vacuoles, we found that NSF/Sec18 activates the vacuolar cis-SNARE complex by selectively displacing the vacuolar Q(a) SNARE, leaving behind a Q(bc)R subcomplex. This subcomplex serves as an acceptor for a Q(a) SNARE from the opposite membrane, leading to Q(a)-Q(bc)R trans-complexes. Activity tests of vacuoles with diagnostic distributions of inactivating mutations over the two fusion partners confirm that this distribution accounts for a major share of the fusion activity. The persistence of the Q(bc)R cis-complex and the formation of the Q(a)-Q(bc)R trans-complex are both sensitive to the Rab-GTPase inhibitor, GDI, and to mutations in the vacuolar tether complex, HOPS (HOmotypic fusion and vacuolar Protein Sorting complex). This suggests that the vacuolar Rab-GTPase, Ypt7, and HOPS restrict cis-SNARE disassembly and thereby bias trans-SNARE assembly into a preferred topology.

PMID:
22272185
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3260307
Free PMC Article
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