Vesicle fusion is mediated by assembly of SNARE proteins between opposing membranes, but it is unknown whether transmembrane domains (TMDs) of SNARE proteins serve mechanistic functions that go beyond passive anchoring of the force-generating SNAREpin to the fusing membranes. Here, we show that conformational flexibility of synaptobrevin-2 TMD is essential for efficient Ca2+-triggered exocytosis and actively promotes membrane fusion as well as fusion pore expansion. Specifically, introduction of helix-stabilizing leucine residues within the TMD region spanning the vesicle's outer leaflet strongly impairs exocytosis and decelerates fusion pore dilation. In contrast, increasing the number of helix-destabilizing, ß-branched valine or isoleucine residues within the TMD restores normal secretion but accelerates fusion pore expansion beyond the rate found for the wildtype protein. These observations provide evidence that the synaptobrevin-2 TMD catalyzes the fusion process by its structural flexibility, actively setting the pace of fusion pore expansion.
- Reinhard Jahn, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Germany
© 2016, Dhara et al.
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Chimeric RNAs have been found in both cancerous and healthy human cells. They have regulatory effects on human stem/progenitor cell differentiation, stemness maintenance, and central nervous system development. However, whether they are present in human retinal cells and their physiological functions in the retinal development remain unknown. Based on the human embryonic stem cell-derived retinal organoids (ROs) spanning from days 0 to 120, we present the expression atlas of chimeric RNAs throughout the developing ROs. We confirmed the existence of some common chimeric RNAs and also discovered many novel chimeric RNAs during retinal development. We focused on CTNNBIP1-CLSTN1 (CTCL) whose downregulation caused precocious neuronal differentiation and a marked reduction of neural progenitors in human cerebral organoids. CTCL is universally present in human retinas, ROs, and retinal cell lines, and its loss-of-function biases the progenitor cells toward retinal pigment epithelial cell fate at the expense of retinal cells. Together, this work provides a landscape of chimeric RNAs and reveals evidence for their critical role in human retinal development.
Deciphering patterns of connectivity between neurons in the brain is a critical step toward understanding brain function. Imaging-based neuroanatomical tracing identifies area-to-area or sparse neuron-to-neuron connectivity patterns, but with limited throughput. Barcode-based connectomics maps large numbers of single-neuron projections, but remains a challenge for jointly analyzing single-cell transcriptomics. Here, we established a rAAV2-retro barcode-based multiplexed tracing method that simultaneously characterizes the projectome and transcriptome at the single neuron level. We uncovered dedicated and collateral projection patterns of ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) neurons to five downstream targets and found that projection-defined vmPFC neurons are molecularly heterogeneous. We identified transcriptional signatures of projection-specific vmPFC neurons, and verified Pou3f1 as a marker gene enriched in neurons projecting to the lateral hypothalamus, denoting a distinct subset with collateral projections to both dorsomedial striatum and lateral hypothalamus. In summary, we have developed a new multiplexed technique whose paired connectome and gene expression data can help reveal organizational principles that form neural circuits and process information.