SNARE assembly enlightened by cryo-EM structures of a synaptobrevin–Munc18-1–syntaxin-1 complex

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Abstract

Munc18-1 forms a template to organize assembly of the neuronal SNARE complex that triggers neurotransmitter release, binding first to a closed conformation of syntaxin-1 where its amino-terminal region interacts with the SNARE motif, and later binding to synaptobrevin. However, the mechanism of SNARE complex assembly remains unclear. Here, we report two cryo-EM structures of Munc18-1 bound to cross-linked syntaxin-1 and synaptobrevin. The structures allow visualization of how syntaxin-1 opens and reveal how part of the syntaxin-1 amino-terminal region can help nucleate interactions between the amino termini of the syntaxin-1 and synaptobrevin SNARE motifs, while their carboxyl termini bind to distal sites of Munc18-1. These observations, together with mutagenesis, SNARE complex assembly experiments, and fusion assays with reconstituted proteoliposomes, support a model whereby these interactions are critical to initiate SNARE complex assembly and multiple energy barriers enable diverse mechanisms for exquisite regulation of neurotransmitter release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereabo5272
JournalScience Advances
Volume8
Issue number25
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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