The crystal structure of a Munc13 C-terminal module exhibits a remarkable similarity to vesicle tethering factors

Wei Li, Cong Ma, Rong Guan, Yibin Xu, Diana R Tomchick, Jose Rizo-Rey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

Unc13/Munc13s play a crucial function in neurotransmitter release through their MUN domain, which mediates the transition from the Syntaxin-1/Munc18-1 complex to the SNARE complex. The MUN domain was suggested to be related to tethering factors, but no MUN-domain structure is available to experimentally validate this notion and address key unresolved questions about the interactions and minimal structural unit required for Unc13/Munc13 function. Here we identify an autonomously folded module within the MUN domain (MUN-CD) and show that its crystal structure is remarkably similar to several tethering factors. We also show that the activity in promoting the Syntaxin-1/Munc18-1 to SNARE complex transition is strongly impaired in MUN-CD. These results show that MUN domains and tethering factors indeed belong to the same family and may have a common role in membrane trafficking. We propose a model whereby the MUN-CD module is central for Munc13 function but full activity requires adjacent sequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1443-1455
Number of pages13
JournalStructure
Volume19
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 12 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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