Neurotransmitter release requires the direct coupling of the calcium sensor with the machinery for membrane fusion. SNARE proteins comprise the minimal fusion machinery, and synaptotagmin I, a synaptic vesicle protein, is the primary candidate for the main neuronal calcium sensor. To test the effect of synaptotagmin I on membrane fusion, we incorporated it into a SNARE-mediated liposome fusion assay. Synaptotagmin I dramatically stimulated membrane fusion by facilitating SNAREpin zippering. This stimulatory effect was topologically restricted to v-SNARE vesicles (containing VAMP 2) and only occurred in trans to t-SNARE vesicles (containing syntaxin 1A and SNAP-25). Interestingly, calcium did not affect the overall fusion reaction. These results indicate that synaptotagmin I can directly accelerate SNARE-mediated membrane fusion and raise the possibility that additional components might be required to ensure tight calcium coupling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology