Binding of the complexin N terminus to the SNARE complex potentiates synaptic-vesicle fusogenicity

Mingshan Xue, Timothy K. Craig, Junjie Xu, Hsiao Tuan Chao, Jose Rizo-Rey, Christian Rosenmund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Complexins facilitate and inhibit neurotransmitter release through distinct domains, and their function was proposed to be coupled to the Ca 2+ sensor synaptotagmin-1 (Syt1). However, the mechanisms underlying complexin function remain unclear. We now uncover an interaction between the complexin N terminus and the SNARE complex C terminus, and we show that disrupting this interaction abolishes the facilitatory function of complexins in mouse neurons. Analyses of hypertonically induced exocytosis show that complexins enhance synaptic-vesicle fusogenicity. Genetic experiments crossing complexin-and Syt1-null mice indicate a functional interaction between these proteins but also show that complexins can promote Ca 2+-triggered release in the absence of Syt1. We propose that the complexin N terminus stabilizes the SNARE complex C terminus and/or helps release the inhibitory function of complexins, thereby activating the fusion machinery in a manner that may cooperate with Syt1 but does not require Syt1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-575
Number of pages8
JournalNature Structural and Molecular Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Binding of the complexin N terminus to the SNARE complex potentiates synaptic-vesicle fusogenicity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this