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Biochemistry. 2002 Sep 10;41(36):10928-33.

Membrane topologies of neuronal SNARE folding intermediates.

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Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA.


Assembly of the SNARE complex is essential for neurotransmitter release at synapses. Target plasma membrane SNAREs (t-SNAREs) syntaxin 1A and SNAP-25 form the t-SNARE complex that serves as an intermediate toward final SNARE assembly with vesicle-associated SNARE (v-SNARE). Membrane topologies of syntaxin 1A and the t-SNARE complex were investigated using site-directed spin labeling EPR. EPR analysis revealed that the basic region at the membrane-water interface is unstructured but inserted into the membrane. Such membrane insertion leaves no gap between the t-SNARE core and the membrane. Yet the lack of structure could provide the flexibility necessary for the t-SNARE core. Further, the insertion of the basic interfacial region into the membrane may have profound implications for the mechanism of SNARE-induced membrane fusion.

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