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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Oct 3;103(40):14761-6. Epub 2006 Sep 25.

Asymmetric phospholipid distribution drives in vitro reconstituted SNARE-dependent membrane fusion.

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Department of Pharmacological Sciences and Center for Developmental Genetics, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA.


Insulin-stimulated glucose uptake requires the fusion of GLUT4 transporter-containing vesicles with the plasma membrane, a process that depends on the SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion factor attachment receptor) proteins VAMP2 (vesicle-associated membrane protein 2) and syntaxin 4 (Stx4)/SNAP23 (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion factor attachment protein 23). Efficient SNARE-dependent fusion has been shown in many settings in vivo to require the generation of both phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) and phosphatidic acid (PA). Addition of PA to Stx4/SNAP23 vesicles markedly enhanced the fusion rate, whereas its addition to VAMP2 vesicles was inhibitory. In contrast, addition of PIP2 to Stx4/SNAP23 vesicles inhibited the fusion reaction, and its addition to VAMP2 vesicles was stimulatory. The optimal distribution of phospholipids was found to trigger the progression from the hemifused state to full fusion. These findings reveal an unanticipated dependence of SNARE complex-mediated fusion on asymmetrically distributed acidic phospholipids and provide mechanistic insights into the roles of phospholipase D and PIP kinases in the late stages of regulated exocytosis.

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