A new functional class of SNAREs, designated inhibitory SNAREs (i-SNAREs), is described here. An i-SNARE inhibits fusion by substituting for or binding to a subunit of a fusogenic SNAREpin to form a nonfusogenic complex. Golgi-localized SNAREs were tested for i-SNARE activity by adding them as a fifth SNARE together with four other SNAREs that mediate Golgi fusion reactions. A striking pattern emerges in which certain subunits of the cis-Golgi SNAREpin function as i-SNAREs that inhibit fusion mediated by the trans-Golgi SNAREpin, and vice versa. Although the opposing distributions of the cis- and trans-Golgi SNAREs themselves could provide for a countercurrent fusion pattern in the Golgi stack, the gradients involved would be strongly sharpened by the complementary countercurrent distributions of the i-SNAREs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology