In vitro fusion catalyzed by the sporulation-specific t-sNARE light-chain Spo20p is stimulated by phosphatidic acid

Song Liu, Kirilee A. Wilson, Travis Rice-stitt, Aaron M. Neiman, James A. Mcnew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Sec9p and Spo20p are two SNAP25 family SNARE proteins specialized for different developmental stages in yeast. Sec9p interacts with Sso1/2p and Snc1/2p to mediate intracellular trafficking between post-Golgi vesicles and the plasma membrane during vegetative growth. Spo20p replaces Sec9p in the generation of prospore membranes during sporulation. The function of Spo20p requires enzymatically active Spo14p, which is a phosphatidylcholine (PC)-specific phospholipase D that hydrolyzes PC to generate phosphatidic acid (PA). Phosphatidic acid is required to localize Spo20p properly during sporulation; however, it seems to have additional roles that are not fully understood. Here we compared the fusion mediated by all combinations of the Sec9p or Spo20p C-terminal domains with Sso1p/Sso2p and Snc1p/Snc2p. Our results show that Spo20p forms a less efficient SNARE complex than Sec9p. The combination of Sso2p/Spo20c is the least fusogenic t-SNARE complex. Incorporation of PA in the lipid bilayer stimulates SNARE-mediated membrane fusion by all t-SNARE complexes, likely by decreasing the energetic barrier during membrane merger. This effect may allow the weak SNARE complex containing Spo20p to function during sporulation. In addition, PA can directly interact with the juxtamembrane region of Sso1p, which contributes to the stimulatory effects of PA on membrane fusion. Our results suggest that the fusion strength of SNAREs, the composition of organelle lipids and lipid-SNARE interactions may be coordinately regulated to control the rate and specificity of membrane fusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1630-1643
Number of pages14
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Juxtamembrane region
  • Phosphatidic acid
  • Prospore membrane
  • Spo20p

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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