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.
The Neuronal Calcium Sensor 1, an EF-hand Ca2+ binding protein, and Ric-8A coregulate synapse number and probability of neurotransmitter release. Recently, the structures of Ric-8A bound to Ga have revealed how Ric-8A phosphorylation promotes Ga recognition and activity as a chaperone and guanine nucleotide exchange factor. However, the molecular mechanism by which NCS-1 regulates Ric-8A activity and its interaction with Ga subunits is not well understood. Given the interest in the NCS-1/Ric-8A complex as a therapeutic target in nervous system disorders, it is necessary to shed light on this molecular mechanism of action at atomic level. We have reconstituted NCS-1/Ric-8A complexes to conduct a multimodal approach and determine the sequence of Ca2+ signals and phosphorylation events that promote the interaction of Ric-8A with Ga. Our data show that the binding of NCS-1 and Ga to Ric-8A are mutually exclusive. Importantly, NCS-1 induces a structural rearrangement in Ric-8A that traps the protein in a conformational state that is inaccessible to Casein Kinase II-mediated phosphorylation, demonstrating one aspect of its negative regulation of Ric-8A-mediated G-protein signaling. Functional experiments indicate a loss of Ric-8A GEF activity towards Ga when complexed with NCS-1, and restoration of nucleotide exchange activity upon increasing Ca2+ concentration. Finally, the high-resolution crystallographic data reported here define the NCS-1/Ric-8A interface and will allow the development of therapeutic synapse function regulators with improved activity and selectivity.