The crystal structure of a Munc13 C-terminal module exhibits a remarkable similarity to vesicle tethering factors

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Abstract

Unc13/Munc13s play a crucial function in neurotransmitter release through their MUN domain, which mediates the transition from the Syntaxin-1/Munc18-1 complex to the SNARE complex. The MUN domain was suggested to be related to tethering factors, but no MUN-domain structure is available to experimentally validate this notion and address key unresolved questions about the interactions and minimal structural unit required for Unc13/Munc13 function. Here we identify an autonomously folded module within the MUN domain (MUN-CD) and show that its crystal structure is remarkably similar to several tethering factors. We also show that the activity in promoting the Syntaxin-1/Munc18-1 to SNARE complex transition is strongly impaired in MUN-CD. These results show that MUN domains and tethering factors indeed belong to the same family and may have a common role in membrane trafficking. We propose a model whereby the MUN-CD module is central for Munc13 function but full activity requires adjacent sequences. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

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Li, W., Ma, C., Guan, R., Xu, Y., Tomchick, D. R., & Rizo, J. (2011). The crystal structure of a Munc13 C-terminal module exhibits a remarkable similarity to vesicle tethering factors. Structure, 19(10), 1443–1455. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.str.2011.07.012

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