Snarepins Are Functionally Resistant to Disruption by Nsf and αSNAP

Cellular Biochemistry and Biophysics Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.
The Journal of Cell Biology (Impact Factor: 9.69). 06/2000; 149(5):1063-72.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT SNARE (SNAP [soluble NSF (N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein) attachment protein] receptor) proteins are required for many fusion processes, and recent studies of isolated SNARE proteins reveal that they are inherently capable of fusing lipid bilayers. Cis-SNARE complexes (formed when vesicle SNAREs [v-SNAREs] and target membrane SNAREs [t-SNAREs] combine in the same membrane) are disrupted by the action of the abundant cytoplasmic ATPase NSF, which is necessary to maintain a supply of uncombined v- and t-SNAREs for fusion in cells. Fusion is mediated by these same SNARE proteins, forming trans-SNARE complexes between membranes. This raises an important question: why doesn't NSF disrupt these SNARE complexes as well, preventing fusion from occurring at all? Here, we report several lines of evidence that demonstrate that SNAREpins (trans-SNARE complexes) are in fact functionally resistant to NSF, and they become so at the moment they form and commit to fusion. This elegant design allows fusion to proceed locally in the face of an overall environment that massively favors SNARE disruption.

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    ABSTRACT: Secretory and endolysosomal fusion events are driven by SNAREs and cofactors, including Sec17 (α-SNAP), Sec18 (NSF), and Sec1/Munc18 (SM) proteins. SMs are essential for fusion in vivo, but the basis of this requirement is enigmatic. We now report that, in addition to their established roles as fusion accelerators, SM proteins Sly1 and Vps33 directly shield SNARE complexes from Sec17- and Sec18-mediated disassembly. In vivo, wild-type Sly1 and Vps33 function are required to withstand overproduction of Sec17. In vitro, Sly1 and Vps33 impede SNARE complex disassembly by Sec18 and ATP. Unexpectedly, Sec17 directly promotes selective loading of Sly1 and Vps33 onto cognate SNARE complexes. A large thermodynamic barrier limits SM binding, implying that significant conformational rearrangements are involved. In a working model, Sec17 and SMs accelerate fusion mediated by cognate SNARE complexes and protect them from NSF-mediated disassembly, while mis-assembled or non-cognate SNARE complexes are eliminated through kinetic proofreading by Sec18.
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