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Cell. 2002 Feb 8;108(3):357-69.

Vacuole fusion at a ring of vertex docking sites leaves membrane fragments within the organelle.

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Department of Biochemistry, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


Three membrane microdomains can be identified on docked vacuoles: "outside" membrane, not in contact with other vacuoles, "boundary" membrane that contacts adjacent vacuoles, and "vertices," where boundary and outside membrane meet. In living cells and in vitro, vacuole fusion occurs at vertices rather than from a central pore expanding radially. Vertex fusion leaves boundary membrane within the fused organelle and is an unexpected pathway for the formation of intralumenal membranes. Proteins that regulate docking and fusion (Vac8p, the GTPase Ypt7p, its HOPS/Vps-C effector complex, the t-SNARE Vam3p, and protein phosphatase 1) accumulate at these vertices during docking. Their vertex enrichment requires cis-SNARE complex disassembly and is thus part of the normal fusion pathway.

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