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Virulence. 2010 Jul-Aug;1(4):319-24. doi: 10.4161/viru.1.4.12195.

SNARE motif: a common motif used by pathogens to manipulate membrane fusion.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Abstract

To penetrate host cells through their membranes, pathogens use a variety of molecular components in which the presence of heptad repeat motifs seems to be a prevailing element. Heptad repeats are characterized by a pattern of seven, generally hydrophobic, residues. In order to initiate membrane fusion, viruses use glycoproteins-containing heptad repeats. These proteins are structurally and functionally similar to the SNARE proteins known to be involved in eukaryotic membrane fusion. SNAREs also display a heptad repeat motif called the "SNARE motif". As bacterial genomes are being sequenced, microorganisms also appear to be carrying membrane proteins resembling eukaryotic SNAREs. This category of SNARE-like proteins might share similar functions and could be used by microorganisms to either promote or block membrane fusion. Such a recurrence across pathogenic organisms suggests that this architectural motif was evolutionarily selected because it most effectively ensures the survival of pathogens within the eukaryotic environment.

PMID:
21178463
PMCID:
PMC3073298
DOI:
10.4161/viru.1.4.12195
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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