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Biophys J. 2010 Nov 3;99(9):2936-46. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2010.09.011.

Docking and fast fusion of synaptobrevin vesicles depends on the lipid compositions of the vesicle and the acceptor SNARE complex-containing target membrane.

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Center for Membrane Biology and Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Erratum in

  • Biophys J. 2011 Jan 5;100(1):269.


The influence of the lipid environment on docking and fusion of synaptobrevin 2 (Syb2) vesicles with target SNARE complex membranes was examined in a planar supported membrane fusion assay with high time-resolution. Previously, we showed that approximately eight SNARE complexes are required to fuse phosphatidylcholine (PC) and cholesterol model membranes in ∼20 ms. Here we present experiments, in which phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) were added to mixtures of PC/cholesterol in different proportions in the Syb2 vesicle membranes only or in both the supported bilayers and the Syb2 vesicles. We found that PS and PE both reduce the probability of fusion and that this reduction is fully accounted for by the lipid composition in the vesicle membrane. However, the docking efficiency increases when the PE content in the vesicle (and target membrane) is increased from 0 to 30%. The fraction of fast-activating SNARE complexes decreases with increasing PE content. As few as three SNARE complexes are sufficient to support membrane fusion when at least 5% PS and 10% PE are present in both membranes or 5% and 30% PE are present in the vesicle membrane only. Despite the smaller number of required SNAREs, the SNARE activation and fusion rates are almost as fast as previously reported in reconstituted PC/cholesterol bilayers, i.e., ~10 and ~20 ms, respectively [corrected].

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