Each domain of the N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein contributes to its transport activity

Elzbieta E. Nagiec, Audrey Bernstein, Sidney W. Whiteheart

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118 Scopus citations


N-Ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein (NSF) has been shown to be involved in numerous intracellular transport events. In an effort to understand the basic mechanism of NSF in vesicle-target membrane fusion events, we have examined the role that each of its three domains play in how NSF interacts with the SNAP-SNARE complex. Mutagenesis of the first ATP- binding domain (D1, amino acids 206-477) demonstrates that nucleotide binding by this domain is required for 20 S particle assembly. A second mutation, which permits ATP binding but not hydrolysis, yields a protein that can form 20 S particle but fails to mediate its disassembly. Similar mutations of the second ATP-binding domain (D2, amino acids 478-744) result in trimeric molecules that behave like wild type NSF. Domain rearrangement mutants were used to further probe the functional role of each domain. The amino-terminal domain (N, amino acids 1-205) is absolutely required for binding of NSF to the SNAP-SNARE complex, because the truncated mutant, D1D2, is unable to form 20 S particle. When tested as an isolated recombinant protein, the N domain is not sufficient for binding to the SNAP-SNARE complex, but when adjacent to the D1 domain or in a trimeric molecule, the N domain does mediate binding to the SNAP-SNARE complex. Monomeric N-D1 and trimeric N-D2 could both participate in particle formation. Only the N-D1 mutant was able to facilitate MgATP-dependent release from the SNAP-SNARE complex. These data demonstrate that NSF binding to the SNAP-SNARE complex is mediated by the N domain and that both ATP binding and hydrolysis by the D1 domain are essential for 20 S particle dynamics. The intramolecular interactions outlined suggest a mechanism by which NSF may use ATP hydrolysis to facilitate the vesicle fusion process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29182-29188
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number49
StatePublished - 8 Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes


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