Detection of SNARE complexes with FRET using the tetracysteine system

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3 Scopus citations


The three proteins synaptosomal-associated protein 25 (SNAP-25), Syntaxin-1a and vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP-2) are collectively called SNAREs (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors). By assembling into an exocytic complex, the three SNAREs help in catalyzing membrane fusion. Due to lack of probes that adequately reconstitute the intracellular behavior of endogenous SNAREs, the dynamics of SNARE complexes in living cells is poorly understood. Here we describe a new FRET-based probe, called Cerulean-SNAP-25-C4 (CSNAC), that can track the conformational changes undergone by SNAP-25 as exocytic complexes assemble. The fluorescent protein Cerulean was attached to the N terminus and served as a FRET donor. The biarsenical dye FlAsH served as a FRET acceptor and was attached to a short tetracysteine motif (C4) motif inserted into the so-called linker domain of SNAP-25. CSNAC reported successive FRET changes when first Syntaxin-1a and then VAMP-2 were added in vitro. Small tetracysteine insertions used as a FRET acceptor are expected to have less steric hindrance than previously used GFP-based fluorophores. We propose that genetically-encoded tetracysteine tags can be used to study regulated SNARE complex assembly in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-108
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • FRET
  • FlAsH
  • Folding
  • GFP
  • Tetracysteine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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