Munc18-1 is crucial to overcome the inhibition of synaptic vesicle fusion by αSNAP

Karolina P. Stepien, Eric A. Prinslow, Josep Rizo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Munc18-1 and Munc13-1 orchestrate assembly of the SNARE complex formed by syntaxin-1, SNAP-25 and synaptobrevin, allowing exquisite regulation of neurotransmitter release. Non-regulated neurotransmitter release might be prevented by αSNAP, which inhibits exocytosis and SNARE-dependent liposome fusion. However, distinct mechanisms of inhibition by αSNAP were suggested, and it is unknown how such inhibition is overcome. Using liposome fusion assays, FRET and NMR spectroscopy, here we provide a comprehensive view of the mechanisms underlying the inhibitory functions of αSNAP, showing that αSNAP potently inhibits liposome fusion by: binding to syntaxin-1, hindering Munc18-1 binding; binding to syntaxin-1-SNAP-25 heterodimers, precluding SNARE complex formation; and binding to trans-SNARE complexes, preventing fusion. Importantly, inhibition by αSNAP is avoided only when Munc18-1 binds first to syntaxin-1, leading to Munc18-1-Munc13-1-dependent liposome fusion. We propose that at least some of the inhibitory activities of αSNAP ensure that neurotransmitter release occurs through the highly-regulated Munc18-1-Munc13-1 pathway at the active zone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4326
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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