Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The assembly of four soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor domains into a complex is essential for membrane fusion. In most cases, the four SNARE-domains are encoded by separate membrane-targeted proteins. However, in the exocytotic pathway, two SNARE-domains are present in one protein, connected by a flexible linker. The significance of this arrangement is unknown. We characterized the role of the linker in SNAP-25, a neuronal SNARE, by using overexpression techniques in synaptosomal-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25) null mouse chromaffin cells and fast electrophysiological techniques. We confirm that the palmitoylated linker-cysteines are important for membrane association. A SNAP-25 mutant without cysteines supported exocytosis, but the fusion rate was slowed down and the fusion pore duration prolonged. Using chimeric proteins between SNAP-25 and its ubiquitous homologue SNAP-23, we show that the cysteine-containing part of the linkers is interchangeable. However, a stretch of 10 hydrophobic and charged amino acids in the C-terminal half of the SNAP-25 linker is required for fast exocytosis and in its absence the calcium dependence of exocytosis is shifted toward higher concentrations. The SNAP-25 linker therefore might have evolved as an adaptation toward calcium triggering and a high rate of execution of the fusion process, those features that distinguish exocytosis from other membrane fusion pathways.

Original publication




Journal article


Molecular Biology of the Cell


American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)

Publication Date





3769 - 3781