Conformational switch of syntaxin-1 controls synaptic vesicle fusion.
ABSTRACT: During synaptic vesicle fusion, the soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor-attachment protein receptor (SNARE) protein syntaxin-1 exhibits two conformations that both bind to Munc18-1: a "closed" conformation outside the SNARE complex and an "open" conformation in the SNARE complex. Although SNARE complexes containing open syntaxin-1 and Munc18-1 are essential for exocytosis, the function of closed syntaxin-1 is unknown. We generated knockin/knockout mice that expressed only open syntaxin-1B. Syntaxin-1B(Open) mice were viable but succumbed to generalized seizures at 2 to 3 months of age. Binding of Munc18-1 to syntaxin-1 was impaired in syntaxin-1B(Open) synapses, and the size of the readily releasable vesicle pool was decreased; however, the rate of synaptic vesicle fusion was dramatically enhanced. Thus, the closed conformation of syntaxin-1 gates the initiation of the synaptic vesicle fusion reaction, which is then mediated by SNARE-complex/Munc18-1 assemblies.
Project description:Among SNARE proteins mediating synaptic vesicle fusion, syntaxin-1 uniquely includes an N-terminal peptide ('N-peptide') that binds to Munc18-1, and a large, conserved H(abc)-domain that also binds to Munc18-1. Previous in vitro studies suggested that the syntaxin-1 N-peptide is functionally important, whereas the syntaxin-1 H(abc)-domain is not, but limited information is available about the in vivo functions of these syntaxin-1 domains. Using rescue experiments in cultured syntaxin-deficient neurons, we now show that the N-peptide and the H(abc)-domain of syntaxin-1 perform distinct and independent roles in synaptic vesicle fusion. Specifically, we found that the N-peptide is essential for vesicle fusion as such, whereas the H(abc)-domain regulates this fusion, in part by forming the closed syntaxin-1 conformation. Moreover, we observed that deletion of the H(abc)-domain but not deletion of the N-peptide caused a loss of Munc18-1 which results in a decrease in the readily releasable pool of vesicles at a synapse, suggesting that Munc18 binding to the H(abc)-domain stabilizes Munc18-1. Thus, the N-terminal syntaxin-1 domains mediate different functions in synaptic vesicle fusion, probably via formation of distinct Munc18/SNARE-protein complexes.
Project description:Both SM proteins (for Sec1/Munc18-like proteins) and SNARE proteins (for soluble NSF-attachment protein receptors) are essential for intracellular membrane fusion, but the general mechanism of coupling between their functions is unclear, in part because diverse SM protein/SNARE binding modes have been described. During synaptic vesicle exocytosis, the SM protein Munc18-1 is known to bind tightly to the SNARE protein syntaxin-1, but only when syntaxin-1 is in a closed conformation that is incompatible with SNARE complex formation. We now show that Munc18-1 also binds tightly to assembled SNARE complexes containing syntaxin-1. The newly discovered Munc18-1/SNARE complex interaction involves contacts of Munc18-1 with the N-terminal H(abc) domain of syntaxin-1 and the four-helical bundle of the assembled SNARE complex. Together with earlier studies, our results suggest that binding of Munc18-1 to closed syntaxin-1 is a specialization that evolved to meet the strict regulatory requirements of neuronal exocytosis, whereas binding of Munc18-1 to assembled SNARE complexes reflects a general function of SM proteins involved in executing membrane fusion.
Project description:Munc18-1 and Syntaxin1 are essential proteins for SNARE-mediated neurotransmission. Munc18-1 participates in synaptic vesicle fusion via dual roles: as a docking/chaperone protein by binding closed Syntaxin1, and as a fusion protein that binds SNARE complexes in a Syntaxin1 N-peptide dependent manner. The two roles are associated with a closed-open Syntaxin1 conformational transition. Here, we show that Syntaxin N-peptide binding to Munc18-1 is not highly selective, suggesting that other parts of the SNARE complex are involved in binding to Munc18-1. We also find that Syntaxin1, with an N peptide and a physically anchored C terminus, binds to Munc18-1 and that this complex can participate in SNARE complex formation. We report a Munc18-1-N-peptide crystal structure that, together with other data, reveals how Munc18-1 might transit from a conformation that binds closed Syntaxin1 to one that may be compatible with binding open Syntaxin1 and SNARE complexes. Our results suggest the possibility that structural transitions occur in both Munc18-1 and Syntaxin1 during their binary interaction. We hypothesize that Munc18-1 domain 3a undergoes a conformational change that may allow coiled-coil interactions with SNARE complexes.
Project description:During the priming step that leaves synaptic vesicles ready for neurotransmitter release, the SNARE syntaxin-1 transitions from a closed conformation that binds Munc18-1 tightly to an open conformation within the highly stable SNARE complex. Control of this conformational transition is important for brain function, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. NMR and fluorescence experiments now show that the Munc13-1 MUN domain, which plays a central role in vesicle priming, markedly accelerates the transition from the syntaxin-1-Munc18-1 complex to the SNARE complex. This activity depends on weak interactions of the MUN domain with the syntaxin-1 SNARE motif, and probably with Munc18-1. Together with available physiological data, these results provide a defined molecular basis for synaptic vesicle priming, and they illustrate how weak protein-protein interactions can play crucial biological roles by promoting transitions between high-affinity macromolecular assemblies.
Project description:Munc18-1 is an essential synaptic protein functioning during multiple stages of the exocytotic process including vesicle recruitment, docking and fusion. These functions require a number of distinct syntaxin-dependent interactions; however, Munc18-1 also regulates vesicle fusion via syntaxin-independent interactions with other exocytotic proteins. Although the structural regions of the Munc18-1 protein involved in closed-conformation syntaxin binding have been thoroughly examined, regions of the protein involved in other interactions are poorly characterised. To investigate this we performed a random transposon mutagenesis, identifying domain 3b of Munc18-1 as a functionally important region of the protein. Transposon insertion in an exposed loop within this domain specifically disrupted Mint1 binding despite leaving affinity for closed conformation syntaxin and binding to the SNARE complex unaffected. The insertion mutation significantly reduced total amounts of exocytosis as measured by carbon fiber amperometry in chromaffin cells. Introduction of the equivalent mutation in UNC-18 in Caenorhabditis elegans also reduced neurotransmitter release as assessed by aldicarb sensitivity. Correlation between the two experimental methods for recording changes in the number of exocytotic events was verified using a previously identified gain of function Munc18-1 mutation E466K (increased exocytosis in chromaffin cells and aldicarb hypersensitivity of C. elegans). These data implicate a novel role for an exposed loop in domain 3b of Munc18-1 in transducing regulation of vesicle fusion independent of closed-conformation syntaxin binding.
Project description:The Sec1/Munc18 (SM) protein Munc18-1 and the SNAREs syntaxin-1, SNAP-25 and synaptobrevin form the core of the membrane fusion machinery that triggers neurotransmitter release. Munc18-1 binds to syntaxin-1 folded into a closed conformation and to the SNARE complex formed by the three SNAREs, which involves an open syntaxin-1 conformation. The former interaction is likely specialized for neurotransmitter release, whereas SM protein/SNARE complex interactions are likely key for all types of intracellular membrane fusion. It is currently unclear whether the closed conformation is highly or only marginally populated in isolated syntaxin-1, and whether Munc18-1 stabilizes the close conformation or helps to open it to facilitate SNARE complex formation. A detailed NMR analysis now suggests that the closed conformation is almost quantitatively populated in isolated syntaxin-1 in the absence of oligomerization, and indicates that its structure is very similar to that observed previously in the crystal structure of the Munc18-1/syntaxin-1 complex. Moreover, we demonstrate that Munc18-1 binding prevents opening of the syntaxin-1 closed conformation. These results support a model whereby the closed conformation constitutes a key intrinsic property of isolated syntaxin-1 and Munc18-1 binding stabilizes this conformation; in this model, Munc18-1 plays in addition an active role in downstream events after another factor(s) helps to open the syntaxin-1 conformation.
Project description:The soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) protein syntaxin-1 adopts a closed conformation when bound to Munc18-1, preventing binding to synaptobrevin-2 and SNAP-25 to form the ternary SNARE complex. Although it is known that the MUN domain of Munc13-1 catalyzes the transition from the Munc18-1/syntaxin-1 complex to the SNARE complex, the molecular mechanism is unclear. Here, we identified two conserved residues (R151, I155) in the syntaxin-1 linker region as key sites for the MUN domain interaction. This interaction is essential for SNARE complex formation in vitro and synaptic vesicle priming in neuronal cultures. Moreover, this interaction is important for a tripartite Munc18-1/syntaxin-1/MUN complex, in which syntaxin-1 still adopts a closed conformation tightly bound to Munc18-1, whereas the syntaxin-1 linker region changes its conformation, similar to that of the LE mutant of syntaxin-1 when bound to Munc18-1. We suggest that the conformational change of the syntaxin-1 linker region induced by Munc13-1 initiates ternary SNARE complex formation in the neuronal system.
Project description:Munc18-1, a SEC1/Munc18 protein and key regulatory protein in synaptic transmission, can either promote or inhibit SNARE complex assembly. Although the binary inhibitory interaction between Munc18-1 and closed syntaxin 1 is well described, the mechanism of how Munc18-1 stimulates membrane fusion remains elusive. Using a reconstituted assay that resolves vesicle docking, priming, clamping, and fusion during synaptic exocytosis, we show that helix 12 in domain 3a of Munc18-1 stimulates SNAREpin assembly and membrane fusion. A single point mutation (L348R) within helix 12 selectively abolishes VAMP2 binding and the stimulatory function of Munc18-1 in membrane fusion. In contrast, targeting a natural switch site (P335A) at the start of helix 12, which can result in an extended α-helical conformation, further accelerates lipid-mixing. Together with structural modeling, the data suggest that helix 12 provides a folding template for VAMP2, accelerating SNAREpin assembly and membrane fusion. Analogous SEC1/Munc18-SNARE interactions at other transport steps may provide a general mechanism to drive lipid bilayer merger. At the neuronal synapse, Munc18-1 may convert docked synaptic vesicles into a readily releasable pool.
Project description:SNARE-complex assembly mediates synaptic vesicle fusion during neurotransmitter release and requires that the target-SNARE protein syntaxin-1 switches from a closed to an open conformation. Although many SNARE proteins are available per vesicle, only one to three SNARE complexes are minimally needed for a fusion reaction. Here, we use high-resolution measurements of synaptic transmission in the calyx-of-Held synapse from mutant mice in which syntaxin-1 is rendered constitutively open and SNARE-complex assembly is enhanced to examine the relation between SNARE-complex assembly and neurotransmitter release. We show that enhancing SNARE-complex assembly dramatically increases the speed of evoked release, potentiates the Ca(2+)-affinity of release, and accelerates fusion-pore expansion during individual vesicle fusion events. Our data indicate that the number of assembled SNARE complexes per vesicle during fusion determines the presynaptic release probability and fusion kinetics and suggest a mechanism whereby proteins (Munc13 or RIM) may control presynaptic plasticity by regulating SNARE-complex assembly.
Project description:Sec1/Munc18 (SM) family proteins are essential for every vesicle fusion pathway. The best-characterized SM protein is the synaptic factor Munc18-1, but it remains unclear whether its functions represent conserved mechanisms of SM proteins or specialized activities in neurotransmitter release. To address this question, we dissected Munc18c, a functionally distinct SM protein involved in nonsynaptic exocytic pathways. We discovered that Munc18c binds to the trans-SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor) complex and strongly accelerates the fusion rate. Further analysis suggests that Munc18c recognizes both vesicle-rooted SNARE and target membrane-associated SNAREs, and promotes trans-SNARE zippering at the postdocking stage of the fusion reaction. The stimulation of fusion by Munc18c is specific to its cognate SNARE isoforms. Because Munc18-1 regulates fusion in a similar manner, we conclude that one conserved function of SM proteins is to bind their cognate trans-SNARE complexes and accelerate fusion kinetics. Munc18c also binds syntaxin-4 monomer but does not block target membrane-associated SNARE assembly, in agreement with our observation that six- to eightfold increases in Munc18c expression do not inhibit insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in adipocytes. Thus, the inhibitory "closed" syntaxin binding mode demonstrated for Munc18-1 is not conserved in Munc18c. Unexpectedly, we found that Munc18c recognizes the N-terminal region of the vesicle-rooted SNARE, whereas Munc18-1 requires the C-terminal sequences, suggesting that the architecture of the SNARE/SM complex likely differs across fusion pathways. Together, these comparative studies of two distinct SM proteins reveal conserved as well as divergent mechanisms of SM family proteins in intracellular vesicle fusion.