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Whereas SNARE (soluble N -ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor) heptad-repeats are well studied, SNAREs also have upstream N-domains of indeterminate function. The assembly of yeast vacuolar SNAREs into complexes for fusion can be studied in chemically defined reactions. Complementary proteoliposomes bearing a Rab:GTP and either the vacuolar R-SNARE or one of the three integrally anchored Q-SNAREs were incubated with the tethering/SM protein complex HOPS and the two other soluble SNAREs (lacking a transmembrane anchor) or their SNARE heptad-repeat domains. Fusion required a transmembrane-anchored R-SNARE on one membrane and an anchored Q-SNARE on the other. The N-domain of the Qb-SNARE was completely dispensable for fusion. Whereas fusion can be promoted by very high concentrations of the Qa-SNARE heptad-repeat domain alone, at physiological concentrations the Qa-SNARE heptad-repeat domain alone has almost no fusion activity. The 181-198 region of Qa, immediately upstream of the SNARE heptad-repeat domain, is required for normal fusion activity with HOPS. This region is needed for normal SNARE complex assembly. © 2017 Song and Wickner. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (


Hongki Song, William Wickner. A short region upstream of the yeast vacuolar Qa-SNARE heptad-repeats promotes membrane fusion through enhanced SNARE complex assembly. Molecular biology of the cell. 2017 Aug 15;28(17):2282-2289

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PMID: 28637767

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