Functional Analysis of Conserved Structural Elements in Yeast Syntaxin Vam3p

Yun Wang, Irina Dulubova, Jose Rizo-Rey, Thomas C. Südhof

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48 Scopus citations


Vam3p, a syntaxin-like SNARE protein involved in yeast vacuole fusion, is composed of a three-helical N-terminal domain, a canonical SNARE motif, and a C-terminal transmembrane region (TMR). Surprisingly, we find that the N-terminal domain of Vam3p is not essential for fusion, although analogous domains in other syntaxins are indispensible for fusion and/or protein-protein interactions. In contrast to the N-terminal domain, mutations in the SNARE motif of Vam3p or replacement of the SNARE motif of Vam3p with the SNARE motif from other syntaxins inhibited fusion. Furthermore, the precise distance between the SNARE motif and the TMR was critical for fusion. Insertion of only three residues after the SNARE motif significantly impaired fusion and insertion of 12 residues abolished fusion. As judged by co-immunoprecipitation experiments, the SNARE motif mutations and the insertions did not alter the association of Vam3p with Vam7p, Vti1p, Nyv1p, and Ykt6p, other vacuolar SNARE proteins implicated in fusion. In contrast, the SNARE motif substitutions interfered with the stable formation of Vam3p complexes with Nyv1p and Vti1p, although Vam3p complexes with Vam7p and Ykt6p were still present. Our data suggest that in contrast to previously characterized syntaxins, Vam3p contains only two domains essential for fusion, the SNARE motif and the TMR, and these domains have to be closely coupled to function in fusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28598-28605
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number30
StatePublished - Jul 27 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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