Membrane fusion requires R-, Qa-, Qb-, and Qc-family SNAREs that zipper into RQaQbQc coiled coils, driven by the sequestration of apolar amino acids. Zippering has been thought to provide all the force driving fusion. Sec17/aSNAP can form an oligomeric assembly with SNAREs with the Sec17 C-terminus bound to Sec18/NSF, the central region bound to SNAREs, and a crucial apolar loop near the N-terminus poised to insert into membranes. We now report that Sec17 and Sec18 will drive robust fusion without requiring zippering completion. Zippering-driven fusion is blocked by deleting the C-terminal quarter of any Q-SNARE domain or by replacing the apolar amino acids of the Qa-SNARE which face the center of the 4-SNARE coiled coils with polar residues. These blocks, singly or combined, are bypassed by Sec17 and Sec18, and SNARE-dependent fusion is restored without help from completing zippering.
All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for Figures 1, 2, 3 4, 5, and 6.
CRYSTAL STRUCTURE OF THE VESICULAR TRANSPORT PROTEIN SEC17RCSB PDB, 1QQE.
- William T Wickner
- Axel T Brunger
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Josep Rizo, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, United States
© 2021, Song et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Two proteins called Sec17 and Sec18 may have a larger role in membrane fusion than is commonly assumed in textbook models.
Doublecortin (DCX) is a microtubule (MT)-associated protein that regulates MT structure and function during neuronal development and mutations in DCX lead to a spectrum of neurological disorders. The structural properties of MT-bound DCX that explain these disorders are incompletely determined. Here, we describe the molecular architecture of the DCX–MT complex through an integrative modeling approach that combines data from X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, and a high-fidelity chemical crosslinking method. We demonstrate that DCX interacts with MTs through its N-terminal domain and induces a lattice-dependent self-association involving the C-terminal structured domain and its disordered tail, in a conformation that favors an open, domain-swapped state. The networked state can accommodate multiple different attachment points on the MT lattice, all of which orient the C-terminal tails away from the lattice. As numerous disease mutations cluster in the C-terminus, and regulatory phosphorylations cluster in its tail, our study shows that lattice-driven self-assembly is an important property of DCX.