i-SNAREs: Inhibitory SNAREs that fine-tune the specificity of membrane fusion

Oleg Varlamov, Allen Volchuk, Vahid Rahimian, Claudia A. Doege, Fabienne Paumet, William S. Eng, Nancy Arango, Francesco Parlati, Mariella Ravazzola, Lelio Orci, Thomas H. Söllner, James E. Rothman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-88
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Golgi
  • Gradient
  • Homotypic
  • Regulation
  • Vesicles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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