All-atom molecular dynamics simulations of Synaptotagmin-SNARE-complexin complexes bridging a vesicle and a flat lipid bilayer

Josep Rizo, Levent Sari, Yife Qi, Wonpil Im, Milo M. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Synaptic vesicles are primed into a state that is ready for fast neurotransmitter release upon Ca2+-binding to Synaptotagmin-1. This state likely includes trans-SNARE complexes between the vesicle and plasma membranes that are bound to Synaptotagmin-1 and complexins. However, the nature of this state and the steps leading to membrane fusion are unclear, in part because of the difficulty of studying this dynamic process experimentally. To shed light into these questions, we performed all-atom molecular dynamics simulations of systems containing trans-SNARE complexes between two flat bilayers or a vesicle and a flat bilayer with or without fragments of Synaptotagmin-1 and/or complexin-1. Our results need to be interpreted with caution because of the limited simulation times and the absence of key components, but suggest mechanistic features that may control release and help visualize potential states of the primed Synaptotagmin-1-SNARE-complexin-1 complex. The simulations suggest that SNAREs alone induce formation of extended membrane-membrane contact interfaces that may fuse slowly, and that the primed state contains macromolecular assemblies of trans-SNARE complexes bound to the Synaptotagmin-1 C2B domain and complexin-1 in a spring-loaded configuration that prevents premature membrane merger and formation of extended interfaces, but keeps the system ready for fast fusion upon Ca2+ influx.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournaleLife
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 16 2022

Keywords

  • complexin
  • membrane fusion
  • molecular biophysics
  • molecular dynamics simulation
  • neurotransmitter release
  • none
  • SNAREs
  • structural biology
  • synaptotagmin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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