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Nature. 1993 Mar 25;362(6418):318-24.

SNAP receptors implicated in vesicle targeting and fusion.

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Rockefeller Research Laboratory, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021.


The N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein (NSF) and the soluble NSF attachment proteins (SNAPs) appear to be essential components of the intracellular membrane fusion apparatus. An affinity purification procedure based on the natural binding of these proteins to their targets was used to isolate SNAP receptors (SNAREs) from bovine brain. Remarkably, the four principal proteins isolated were all proteins associated with the synapse, with one type located in the synaptic vesicle and another in the plasma membrane, suggesting a simple mechanism for vesicle docking. The existence of numerous SNARE-related proteins, each apparently specific for a single kind of vesicle or target membrane, indicates that NSF and SNAPs may be universal components of a vesicle fusion apparatus common to both constitutive and regulated fusion (including neurotransmitter release), in which the SNAREs may help to ensure vesicle-to-target specificity.

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