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      SNAREs — engines for membrane fusion

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      Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology

      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          Since the discovery of SNARE proteins in the late 1980s, SNAREs have been recognized as key components of protein complexes that drive membrane fusion. Despite considerable sequence divergence among SNARE proteins, their mechanism seems to be conserved and is adaptable for fusion reactions as diverse as those involved in cell growth, membrane repair, cytokinesis and synaptic transmission. A fascinating picture of these robust nanomachines is emerging.

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          Most cited references 130

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          The mechanisms of vesicle budding and fusion.

          Genetic and biochemical analyses of the secretory pathway have produced a detailed picture of the molecular mechanisms involved in selective cargo transport between organelles. This transport occurs by means of vesicular intermediates that bud from a donor compartment and fuse with an acceptor compartment. Vesicle budding and cargo selection are mediated by protein coats, while vesicle targeting and fusion depend on a machinery that includes the SNARE proteins. Precise regulation of these two aspects of vesicular transport ensures efficient cargo transfer while preserving organelle identity.
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            A protein assembly-disassembly pathway in vitro that may correspond to sequential steps of synaptic vesicle docking, activation, and fusion.

            The SNARE hypothesis holds that a transport vesicle chooses its target for fusion when a soluble NSF attachment protein (SNAP) receptor on the vesicle (v-SNARE) pairs with its cognate t-SNARE at the target membrane. Three synaptosomal membrane proteins have previously been identified: syntaxin, SNAP-25 (t-SNAREs), and vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP) (v-SNARE); all assemble with SNAPs and NSF into 20S fusion particles. We now report that in the absence of SNAP and NSF, these three SNAREs form a stable complex that can also bind synaptotagmin. Synaptotagmin is displaced by alpha-SNAP, suggesting that these two proteins share binding sites on the SNARE complex and implying that synaptotagmin operates as a "clamp" to prevent fusion from proceeding in the absence of a signal. The alpha-SNAP-SNARE complex can bind NSF, and NSF-dependent hydrolysis of ATP dissociates the complex, separating syntaxin, SNAP-25, and VAMP. ATP hydrolysis by NSF may provide motion to initiate bilayer fusion.
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              Protein-lipid interplay in fusion and fission of biological membranes.

              Disparate biological processes involve fusion of two membranes into one and fission of one membrane into two. To formulate the possible job description for the proteins that mediate remodeling of biological membranes, we analyze the energy price of disruption and bending of membrane lipid bilayers at the different stages of bilayer fusion. The phenomenology and the pathways of the well-characterized reactions of biological remodeling, such as fusion mediated by influenza hemagglutinin, are compared with those studied for protein-free bilayers. We briefly consider some proteins involved in fusion and fission, and the dependence of remodeling on the lipid composition of the membranes. The specific hypothetical mechanisms by which the proteins can lower the energy price of the bilayer rearrangement are discussed in light of the experimental data and the requirements imposed by the elastic properties of the bilayer.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
                Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1471-0072
                1471-0080
                September 2006
                August 16 2006
                September 2006
                : 7
                : 9
                : 631-643
                Article
                10.1038/nrm2002
                16912714
                © 2006

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