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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2011 Jul 24;18(8):927-33. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2101.

Complexin cross-links prefusion SNAREs into a zigzag array.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Abstract

Complexin prevents SNAREs from releasing neurotransmitters until an action potential arrives at the synapse. To understand the mechanism for this inhibition, we determined the structure of complexin bound to a mimetic of a prefusion SNAREpin lacking the portion of the v-SNARE that zippers last to trigger fusion. The 'central helix' of complexin is anchored to one SNARE complex, while its 'accessory helix' extends away at ~45° and bridges to a second complex, occupying the vacant v-SNARE binding site to inhibit fusion. We expected the accessory helix to compete with the v-SNARE for t-SNARE binding but found instead that the interaction occurs intermolecularly. Thus, complexin organizes the SNAREs into a zigzag topology that, when interposed between the vesicle and plasma membranes, is incompatible with fusion.

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PMID:
21785414
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3410656
Free PMC Article
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