Cell Biology

Open and Closed Case

Science Signaling  16 Sep 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 37, pp. ec328
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.137ec328

Calcium-triggered synaptic vesicle membrane fusion is driven by so-called SNARE proteins and Sec1/Munc18-like proteins. Gerber et al. use mouse genetics in combination with electron microscopy and electrophysiology to investigate the function of the evolutionarily conserved Munc18-syntaxin complex in fusion. In mutant mice that express only “open” syntaxin-1 that cannot bind Munc18-1 but still forms SNARE-complexes and Munc18-SNARE-complexes, the Munc18-1-syntaxin-1 complex is selectively essential for tethering synaptic vesicles and for controlling the rate of fusion of these vesicles. Thus, in vivo, syntaxin-1 function goes beyond catalyzing fusion but also regulates fusion.

S. H. Gerber, J.-C. Rah, S.-W. Min, X. Liu, H. de Wit, I. Dulubova, A. C. Meyer, J. Rizo, M. Arancillo, R. E. Hammer, M. Verhage, C. Rosenmund, T. C. Südhof, Conformational switch of syntaxin-1 controls synaptic vesicle fusion. Science 321, 1507-1510 (2008). [Abstract] [Full Text]