Mutual control of membrane fission and fusion proteins

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Membrane fusion and fission are antagonistic reactions controlled by different proteins. Dynamins promote membrane fission by GTP-driven changes of conformation and polymerization state, while SNAREs fuse membranes by forming complexes between t- and v-SNAREs from apposed vesicles. Here, we describe a role of the dynamin-like GTPase Vps1p in fusion of yeast vacuoles. Vps1p forms polymers that couple several t-SNAREs together. At the onset of fusion, the SNARE-activating ATPase Sec18p/NSF and the t-SNARE depolymerize Vps1p and release it from the membrane. This activity is independent of the SNARE coactivator Sec17p/α-SNAP and of the v-SNARE. Vps1p release liberates the t-SNAREs for initiating fusion and at the same time disrupts fission activity. We propose that reciprocal control between fusion and fission components exists, which may prevent futile cycles of fission and fusion.




Peters, C., Baars, T. L., Bühler, S., & Mayer, A. (2004). Mutual control of membrane fission and fusion proteins. Cell, 119(5), 667–678.

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