Protein determinants of SNARE-mediated lipid mixing.
ABSTRACT: Soluble N-ethylmaleimide sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE)-mediated lipid mixing can be efficiently recapitulated in vitro by the incorporation of purified vesicle membrane (-v) SNARE and target membrane (t-) SNARE proteins into separate liposome populations. Despite the strong correlation between the observed activities in this system and the known SNARE physiology, some recent works have suggested that SNARE-mediated lipid mixing may be limited to circumstances where membrane defects arise from artifactual reconstitution conditions (such as nonphysiological high-protein concentrations or unrealistically small liposome populations). Here, we show that the previously published strategies used to reconstitute SNAREs into liposomes do not significantly affect either the physical parameters of the proteoliposomes or the ability of SNAREs to drive lipid mixing in vitro. The surface density of SNARE proteins turns out to be the most critical parameter, which controls both the rate and the extent of SNARE-mediated liposome fusion. In addition, the specific activity of the t-SNARE complex is significantly influenced by expression and reconstitution protocols, such that we only observe optimal lipid mixing when the t-SNARE proteins are coexpressed before purification.
Project description:Membrane fusion in eukaryotic cells is thought to be mediated by a highly conserved family of proteins called SNAREs (soluble N-ethyl maleimide sensitive-factor attachment protein receptors). The vesicle-associated v-SNARE engages with its partner t-SNAREs on the target membrane to form a coiled coil that bridges two membranes and facilitates fusion. As demonstrated by recent findings on the hemifusion state, identifying intermediates of membrane fusion can help unveil the underlying fusion mechanism. Observation of SNARE-driven fusion at the single-liposome level has the potential to dissect and characterize fusion intermediates most directly. Here, we report on the real-time observation of lipid-mixing dynamics in a single fusion event between a pair of SNARE-reconstituted liposomes. The assay reveals multiple intermediate states characterized by discrete values of FRET between membrane-bound fluorophores. Hemifusion, flickering of fusion pores, and kinetic transitions between intermediates, which would be very difficult to detect in ensemble assays, are now identified. The ability to monitor the time course of fusion events between two proteoliposomes should be useful for addressing many important issues in SNARE-mediated membrane fusion.
Project description:Reconstitution assays with proteoliposomes provide a powerful tool to elucidate the mechanism of neurotransmitter release, but it is important to understand how these assays report on membrane fusion, and recent studies with yeast vacuolar SNAREs uncovered asymmetry in the results of lipid mixing assays. We have investigated whether such asymmetry also occurs in reconstitution assays with the neuronal SNAREs, using syntaxin-1-SNAP-25-containing liposomes and liposomes containing synaptobrevin (T and V liposomes, respectively), and fluorescent probes to monitor lipid and content mixing simultaneously. Switching the fluorescent probes placed on the T and V liposomes, we observed a striking asymmetry in both lipid and content mixing stimulated by a fragment spanning the two C2 domains of synaptotagmin-1, or by a peptide that spans the C-terminal half of the synaptobrevin SNARE motif. However, no such asymmetry was observed in assays performed in the presence of Munc18-1, Munc13-1, NSF and ?SNAP, which coordinate the assembly-disassembly cycle of neuronal SNARE complexes. Our results show that switching fluorescent probes between the two types of liposomes provides a useful approach to better understand the reactions that occur between liposomes and detect heterogenous behavior in these reactions.
Project description:?-Synuclein (?-Syn), a major component of Lewy body that is considered as the hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD), has been implicated in neuroexocytosis. Overexpression of ?-Syn decreases the neurotransmitter release. However, the mechanism by which ?-Syn buildup inhibits the neurotransmitter release is still unclear. Here, we investigated the effect of nonaggregated ?-Syn on SNARE-dependent liposome fusion using fluorescence methods. In ensemble in vitro assays, ?-Syn reduces lipid mixing mediated by SNAREs. Furthermore, with the more advanced single-vesicle assay that can distinguish vesicle docking from fusion, we found that ?-Syn specifically inhibits vesicle docking, without interfering with the fusion. The inhibition in vesicle docking requires ?-Syn binding to acidic lipid containing membranes. Thus, these results imply the existence of at least two mechanisms of inhibition of SNARE-dependent membrane fusion: at high concentrations, nonaggregated ?-Syn inhibits docking by binding acidic lipids but not v-SNARE; on the other hand, at much lower concentrations, large ?-Syn oligomers inhibit via a mechanism that requires v-SNARE interaction [ Choi et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 2013 , 110 ( 10 ), 4087 - 4092 ].
Project description:The convergence of the antagonistic reactions of membrane fusion and fission at the hemifusion/hemifission intermediate has generated a captivating enigma of whether Soluble N-ethylmaleimide sensitive factor Attachment Protein Receptor (SNAREs) and dynamin have unusual counter-functions in fission and fusion, respectively. SNARE-mediated fusion and dynamin-driven fission are fundamental membrane flux reactions known to occur during ubiquitous cellular communication events such as exocytosis, endocytosis and vesicle transport. Here we demonstrate the influence of the dynamin homolog Vps1 (Vacuolar protein sorting 1) on lipid mixing and content mixing properties of yeast vacuoles, and on the incorporation of SNAREs into fusogenic complexes. We propose a novel concept that Vps1, through its oligomerization and SNARE domain binding, promotes the hemifusion-content mixing transition in yeast vacuole fusion by increasing the number of trans-SNAREs.
Project description:In vitro vesicle fusion assays that monitor lipid mixing between t-SNARE and v-SNARE vesicles in bulk solution exhibit remarkably slow fusion on the nonphysiological timescale of tens of minutes to several hours. Here, single-vesicle, fluorescence resonance energy transfer-based assays cleanly separate docking and fusion steps for individual vesicle pairs containing full-length SNAREs. Docking is extremely inefficient and is the rate-limiting step. Of importance, the docking and fusion kinetics are comparable in the two assays (one with v-SNARE vesicles tethered to a surface and the other with v-SNARE vesicles free in solution). Addition of the V(C) peptide synaptobrevin-2 (syb(57-92)) increases the docking efficiency by a factor of ?30, but docking remains rate-limiting. In the presence of V(C) peptide, the fusion step occurs on a timescale of ?10 s. In previous experiments involving bulk fusion assays in which the addition of synaptotagmin/Ca(2+), Munc-18, or complexin accelerated the observed lipid-mixing rate, the enhancement may have arisen from the docking step rather than the fusion step.
Project description:Complexins (Cpxs) and synaptotagmins regulate calcium-dependent exocytosis. A central helix in Cpx confers specific binding to the soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor-attachment protein receptor (SNARE) fusion machinery. An accessory helix in the amino-terminal region inhibits membrane fusion by blocking SNAREpin zippering. We now show that an amphipathic helix in the carboxy-terminal region of CpxI binds lipid bilayers and affects SNARE-mediated lipid mixing in a liposome fusion assay. The substitution of a hydrophobic amino acid within the helix by a charged residue abolishes the lipid interaction and the stimulatory effect of CpxI in liposome fusion. In contrast, the introduction of the bulky hydrophobic amino acid tryptophan stimulates lipid binding and liposome fusion. This data shows that local Cpx-lipid interactions can play a role in membrane fusion.
Project description:The soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) complex drives the majority of intracellular and exocytic membrane fusion events. Whether and how SNAREs cooperate to mediate fusion has been a subject of intense study, with estimates ranging from a single SNARE complex to 15. Here we show that there is no universally conserved number of SNARE complexes involved as revealed by our observation that this varies greatly depending on membrane curvature. When docking rates of small (?40 nm) and large (?100 nm) liposomes reconstituted with different synaptobrevin (the SNARE present in synaptic vesicles) densities are taken into account, the lipid mixing efficiency was maximal with small liposomes with only one synaptobrevin, whereas 23-30 synaptobrevins were necessary for efficient lipid mixing in large liposomes. Our results can be rationalized in terms of strong and weak cooperative coupling of SNARE complex assembly where each mode implicates different intermediate states of fusion that have been recently identified by electron microscopy. We predict that even higher variability in cooperativity is present in different physiological scenarios of fusion, and we further hypothesize that plasticity of SNAREs to engage in different coupling modes is an important feature of the biologically ubiquitous SNARE-mediated fusion reactions.
Project description:Neuronal exocytosis is mediated by the SNARE proteins synaptobrevin 2/VAMP, syntaxin 1A, and SNAP-25A. While it is well-established that these proteins mediate membrane fusion after reconstitution in artificial membranes, it has so far been difficult to monitor intermediate stages of the reaction. Using a confocal two-photon setup, we applied fluorescence cross-correlation spectroscopy (FCCS) and fluorescence lifetime analysis to discriminate between docking and fusion of liposomes. We show that liposome populations that are either non-interacting, or are undergoing docking and fusion, as well as multiple interactions can be quantitatively discriminated without the need for immobilizing the lipid bilayers. When liposomes containing a stabilized syntaxin 1A/SNAP-25A complex were mixed with liposomes containing synaptobrevin 2, we observed that rapid docking precedes fusion. Accordingly, docked intermediates accumulated in the initial phase of the reaction. Furthermore, rapid formation of multiple docked states was observed with on average four liposomes interacting with each other. When liposomes of different sizes were compared, only the rate of lipid mixing depended on the liposome size but not the rate of docking. Our results show that under appropriate conditions a docked state, mediated by trans-SNARE interactions, can be isolated that constitutes an intermediate in the fusion pathway.
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:Intracellular membrane fusion requires R-SNAREs and Q-SNAREs to assemble into a four-helical parallel coiled-coil, with their hydrophobic anchors spanning the two apposed membranes. Based on the fusion properties of chemically defined SNARE- proteoliposomes, it has been proposed that the assembly of this helical bundle transduces force through the entire bilayer via the transmembrane SNARE anchor domains to drive fusion. However, an R-SNARE, Nyv1p, with a genetically engineered lipid anchor that spans half of the bilayer suffices for the fusion of isolated vacuoles, although this organelle has other R-SNAREs. To demonstrate unequivocally the fusion activity of lipid-anchored Nyv1p, we reconstituted proteoliposomes with purified lipid-anchored Nyv1p as the only protein. When these proteoliposomes were incubated with those bearing cognate Q-SNAREs, there was trans-SNARE complex assembly but, in accord with prior studies of the neuronal SNAREs, little lipid mixing. However, the addition of physiological fusion accessory proteins (HOPS, Sec17p, and Sec18p) allows lipid-anchored Nyv1p to support fusion, suggesting that trans-SNARE complex function is not limited to force transduction across the bilayers through the transmembrane domains.