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The communication between neurons constitutes the basis of all neural activities, and synaptic vesicle exocytosis is the fundamental biological event that mediates most communication between neurons in the central nervous system. The SNARE complex is the core component of the protein machinery that facilitates the fusion of synaptic vesicles with presynaptic terminals and thereby the release of neurotransmitters. In synapses, each release event is dependent on the assembly of the SNARE complex. In recent years, basic research on the SNARE complex has provided a clearer understanding of the mechanism underlying the formation of the SNARE complex and its role in vesicle formation. Emerging evidence indicates that abnormal expression or dysfunction of the SNARE complex in synapse physiology might contribute to abnormal neurotransmission and ultimately to synaptic dysfunction. Clinical research using postmortem tissues suggests that SNARE complex dysfunction is correlated with various neurological diseases, and some basic research has also confirmed the important role of the SNARE complex in the pathology of these diseases. Genetic and pharmacogenetic studies suggest that the SNARE complex and individual proteins might represent important molecular targets in neurological disease. In this review, we summarize the recent progress toward understanding the SNARE complex in regulating membrane fusion events and provide an update of the recent discoveries from clinical and basic research on the SNARE complex in neurodegenerative, neuropsychiatric, and neurodevelopmental diseases. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Feng Chen, Huiyi Chen, Yanting Chen, Wenyan Wei, Yuanhong Sun, Lu Zhang, Lili Cui, Yan Wang. Dysfunction of the SNARE complex in neurological and psychiatric disorders. Pharmacological research. 2021 Mar;165:105469

PMID: 33524541

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