The SNAP-25 linker as an adaptation toward fast exocytosis.
ABSTRACT: The assembly of four soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor domains into a complex is essential for membrane fusion. In most cases, the four SNARE-domains are encoded by separate membrane-targeted proteins. However, in the exocytotic pathway, two SNARE-domains are present in one protein, connected by a flexible linker. The significance of this arrangement is unknown. We characterized the role of the linker in SNAP-25, a neuronal SNARE, by using overexpression techniques in synaptosomal-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25) null mouse chromaffin cells and fast electrophysiological techniques. We confirm that the palmitoylated linker-cysteines are important for membrane association. A SNAP-25 mutant without cysteines supported exocytosis, but the fusion rate was slowed down and the fusion pore duration prolonged. Using chimeric proteins between SNAP-25 and its ubiquitous homologue SNAP-23, we show that the cysteine-containing part of the linkers is interchangeable. However, a stretch of 10 hydrophobic and charged amino acids in the C-terminal half of the SNAP-25 linker is required for fast exocytosis and in its absence the calcium dependence of exocytosis is shifted toward higher concentrations. The SNAP-25 linker therefore might have evolved as an adaptation toward calcium triggering and a high rate of execution of the fusion process, those features that distinguish exocytosis from other membrane fusion pathways.
Project description:SNAP-25 is an essential component of SNARE complexes driving fast Ca2+-dependent exocytosis. Yet, the functional implications of the tandem-like structure of SNAP-25 are unclear. Here, we have investigated the mechanistic role of the acylated "linker" domain that concatenates the two SNARE motifs within SNAP-25. Refuting older concepts of an inert connector, our detailed structure-function analysis in murine chromaffin cells demonstrates that linker motifs play a crucial role in vesicle priming, triggering, and fusion pore expansion. Mechanistically, we identify two synergistic functions of the SNAP-25 linker: First, linker motifs support t-SNARE interactions and accelerate ternary complex assembly. Second, the acylated N-terminal linker segment engages in local lipid interactions that facilitate fusion triggering and pore evolution, putatively establishing a favorable membrane configuration by shielding phospholipid headgroups and affecting curvature. Hence, the linker is a functional part of the fusion complex that promotes secretion by SNARE interactions as well as concerted lipid interplay.
Project description:The release of neurotransmitter at a synapse occurs via the regulated fusion of synaptic vesicles with the plasma membrane. The fusion of the two lipid bilayers is mediated by a protein complex that includes the plasma membrane target soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein (NSF) attachment protein (SNAP) receptors (t-SNAREs), syntaxin 1A and synaptosome-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25), and the vesicle SNARE (v-SNARE), vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP). Whereas syntaxin 1A and VAMP are tethered to the membrane by a C-terminal transmembrane domain, SNAP-25 has been suggested to be anchored to the membrane via four palmitoylated cysteine residues. We demonstrate that the cysteine residues of SNAP-25 are not required for membrane localization when syntaxin 1A is present. Analysis of the 7 S and 20 S complexes formed by mutants that lack cysteine residues demonstrates that the cysteines are required for efficient SNARE complex dissociation. Furthermore, these mutants are unable to support exocytosis, as demonstrated by a PC12 cell secretion assay. We hypothesize that syntaxin 1A serves to direct newly synthesized SNAP-25 through the Golgi transport pathway to the axons and synapses, and that palmitoylation of cysteine residues is not required for targeting, but to optimize interactions required for SNARE complex dissociation.
Project description:Regulated exocytosis in neurons and neuroendocrine cells requires the formation of a stable soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) complex consisting of synaptobrevin-2/vesicle-associated membrane protein 2, synaptosome-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25), and syntaxin 1. This complex is subsequently disassembled by the concerted action of alpha-SNAP and the ATPases associated with different cellular activities-ATPase N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF). We report that NSF inhibition causes accumulation of alpha-SNAP in clusters on plasma membranes. Clustering is mediated by the binding of alpha-SNAP to uncomplexed syntaxin, because cleavage of syntaxin with botulinum neurotoxin C1 or competition by using antibodies against syntaxin SNARE motif abolishes clustering. Binding of alpha-SNAP potently inhibits Ca(2+)-dependent exocytosis of secretory granules and SNARE-mediated liposome fusion. Membrane clustering and inhibition of both exocytosis and liposome fusion are counteracted by NSF but not when an alpha-SNAP mutant defective in NSF activation is used. We conclude that alpha-SNAP inhibits exocytosis by binding to the syntaxin SNARE motif and in turn prevents SNARE assembly, revealing an unexpected site of action for alpha-SNAP in the SNARE cycle that drives exocytotic membrane fusion.
Project description:SNAP-25B is a neuronal protein required for neurotransmitter (NT) release and is the target of Botulinum Toxins A and E. It has two SNARE domains that form a four-helix bundle when combined with syntaxin 1A and synaptobrevin. Formation of the three-protein complex requires both SNARE domains of SNAP-25B to align parallel, stretching out a central linker. The N-terminal of the linker has four cysteines within eight amino acids. Palmitoylation of these cysteines helps target SNAP-25B to the membrane; however, these cysteines are also an obvious target for oxidation, which has been shown to decrease SNARE complex formation and NT secretion. Because the linker is only slightly longer than the SNARE complex, formation of a disulfide bond between two cysteines might shorten it sufficiently to reduce secretion by limiting complex formation. To test this idea, we have carried out molecular dynamics simulations of the SNARE complex in the oxidized and reduced states. Indeed, marked conformational differences and a reduction of helical content in SNAP-25B upon oxidation are seen. Further differences are found for hydrophobic interactions at three locations, crucial for the helix-helix association. Removal of the linker induced different conformational changes than oxidation. The simulations suggest that oxidation of the cysteines leads to a dysfunctional SNARE complex, thus downregulating NT release during oxidative stress.
Project description:The essential membrane fusion apparatus in mammalian cells, the soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) complex, consists of four alpha-helices formed by three proteins: SNAP-25, syntaxin 1, and synaptobrevin 2. SNAP-25 contributes two helices to the complex and is targeted to the plasma membrane by palmitoylation of four cysteines in the linker region. It is alternatively spliced into two forms, SNAP-25a and SNAP-25b, differing by nine amino acids substitutions. When expressed in chromaffin cells from SNAP-25 null mice, the isoforms support different levels of secretion. Here, we investigated the basis of that different secretory phenotype. We found that two nonconservative substitutions in the N-terminal SNARE domain and not the different localization of one palmitoylated cysteine cause the functional difference between the isoforms. Biochemical and molecular dynamic simulation experiments revealed that the two substitutions do not regulate secretion by affecting the property of SNARE complex itself, but rather make the SNAP-25b-containing SNARE complex more available for the interaction with accessory factor(s).
Project description:Neuronal exocytosis is driven by the formation of SNARE complexes between synaptobrevin 2 on synaptic vesicles and SNAP-25/syntaxin 1 on the plasma membrane. It has remained controversial, however, whether SNAREs are constitutively active or whether they are down-regulated until fusion is triggered. We now show that synaptobrevin in proteoliposomes as well as in purified synaptic vesicles is constitutively active. Potential regulators such as calmodulin or synaptophysin do not affect SNARE activity. Substitution or deletion of residues in the linker connecting the SNARE motif and transmembrane region did not alter the kinetics of SNARE complex assembly or of SNARE-mediated fusion of liposomes. Remarkably, deletion of C-terminal residues of the SNARE motif strongly reduced fusion activity, although the overall stability of the complexes was not affected. We conclude that although complete zippering of the SNARE complex is essential for membrane fusion, the structure of the adjacent linker domain is less critical, suggesting that complete SNARE complex assembly not only connects membranes but also drives fusion.
Project description:The transition of the Munc18-1/syntaxin-1 complex to the SNARE complex, a key step involved in exocytosis, is regulated by Munc13-1, SNAP-25 and synaptobrevin-2, but the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here, we identify an interaction between Munc13-1 and the membrane-proximal linker region of synaptobrevin-2, and reveal its essential role in transition and exocytosis. Upon this interaction, Munc13-1 not only recruits synaptobrevin-2-embedded vesicles to the target membrane but also renders the synaptobrevin-2 SNARE motif more accessible to the Munc18-1/syntaxin-1 complex. Afterward, the entry of SNAP-25 leads to a half-zippered SNARE assembly, which eventually dissociates the Munc18-1/syntaxin-1 complex to complete SNARE complex formation. Our data suggest that Munc18-1 and Munc13-1 together serve as a functional template to orchestrate SNARE complex assembly.
Project description:Neuronal exocytotic membrane fusion occurs on a fast timescale and is dependent on interactions between the vesicle SNARE synaptobrevin-2 and the plasma membrane SNAREs syntaxin-1a and SNAP-25 with a 1:1:1 stoichiometry. Reproducing fast fusion rates as observed in cells by reconstitution in vitro has been hindered by the spontaneous assembly of a 2:1 syntaxin-1a:SNAP-25 complex on target membranes that kinetically alters the binding of synaptobrevin-2. Previously, an artificial SNARE acceptor complex consisting of 1:1:1 syntaxin-1a(residues 183-288):SNAP-25:syb(residues 49-96) was found to greatly accelerate the rates of lipid mixing of reconstituted target and vesicle SNARE proteoliposomes. Here we present two (to our knowledge) new procedures to assemble membrane-bound 1:1 SNARE acceptor complexes that produce fast and efficient fusion without the need of the syb(49-96) peptide. In the first procedure, syntaxin-1a is purified in a strictly monomeric form and subsequently assembled with SNAP-25 in detergent with the correct 1:1 stoichiometry. In the second procedure, monomeric syntaxin-1a and dodecylated (d-)SNAP-25 are separately reconstituted into proteoliposomes and subsequently assembled in the plane of merged target lipid bilayers. Examining single particle fusion between synaptobrevin-2 proteoliposomes and planar-supported bilayers containing the two different SNARE acceptor complexes revealed similar fast rates of fusion. Changing the stoichiometry of syntaxin-1a and d-SNAP-25 in the target bilayer had significant effects on docking, but little effect on the rates of synaptobrevin-2 proteoliposome fusion.
Project description:Synaptic exocytosis requires the soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) proteins syntaxin 1, SNAP-25, and synaptobrevin (VAMP). Assembly of the SNAREs into a stable core complex is supposed to catalyze membrane fusion, and proteoliposomes reconstituted with synaptic SNARE proteins spontaneously fuse with each other. We now show that liposome fusion mediated by synaptic SNAREs is inhibited by botulinum neurotoxin E (BoNT/E) but can be rescued by supplementing the C-terminal portion of SNAP-25. Furthermore, fusion is prevented by a SNAP-25-specific antibody known to block exocytosis in chromaffin cells, and it is competed for by soluble fragments of the R-SNAREs synaptobrevin 2, endobrevin/VAMP-8, and tomosyn. No accumulation of clustered vesicles is observed during the reaction. Rapid artificial clustering of SNARE-containing proteoliposomes enhances the fusion rate at low but not at saturating liposome concentrations. We conclude that the rate of liposome fusion is dominated by the intrinsic properties of the SNAREs rather than by the preceding docking step.
Project description:Synchronous neurotransmission depends on the tight coupling between Ca(2+) influx and fusion of neurotransmitter-filled vesicles with the plasma membrane. The vesicular soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) protein synaptobrevin 2 and the plasma membrane SNAREs syntaxin 1 and synaptosomal protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25) are essential for calcium-triggered exocytosis. However, the link between calcium triggering and SNARE function remains elusive. Here we describe mutations in two sites on the surface of the SNARE complex formed by acidic and hydrophilic residues of SNAP-25 and synaptobrevin 2, which were found to coordinate divalent cations in the neuronal SNARE complex crystal structure. By reducing the net charge of the site in SNAP-25 we identify a mutation that interferes with calcium triggering of exocytosis when overexpressed in chromaffin cells. Exocytosis was elicited by photorelease of calcium from a calcium cage and evaluated by using patch-clamp capacitance measurements at millisecond time resolution. We present a method for monitoring the dependence of exocytotic rate upon calcium concentration at the release site and demonstrate that the mutation decreased the steepness of this relationship, indicating that the number of sequential calcium-binding steps preceding exocytosis is reduced by one. We conclude that the SNARE complex is linked directly to calcium triggering of exocytosis, most likely in a complex with auxiliary proteins.