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(1/3607) Membrane fusion: structure snared at last.

The structure of the core of the neuronal 'SNARE complex', involved in neurotransmitter release, has been determined recently. Its topological similarity to viral fusion proteins suggests how the SNARE complex might facilitate membrane fusion.  (+info)

(2/3607) Biophysical characterization of the structure of the amino-terminal region of gp41 of HIV-1. Implications on viral fusion mechanism.

A peptide of 51 amino acids corresponding to the NH2-terminal region (5-55) of the glycoprotein gp41 of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 was synthesized to study its conformation and assembly. Nuclear magnetic resonance experiments indicated the sequence NH2-terminal to the leucine zipper-like domain of gp41 was induced into helix in the micellar solution, in agreement with circular dichroism data. Light scattering experiment showed that the peptide molecules self-assembled in water into trimeric structure on average. That the peptide molecules oligomerize in aqueous solution was supported by gel filtration and diffusion coefficient experiments. Molecular dynamics simulation based on the NMR data revealed a flexible region adjacent to the hydrophobic NH2 terminus of gp41. The biological significance of the present findings on the conformational flexibility and the propensity of oligomerization of the peptide may be envisioned by a proposed model for the interaction of gp41 with membranes during fusion process.  (+info)

(3/3607) SNARE interactions are not selective. Implications for membrane fusion specificity.

The SNARE hypothesis proposes that membrane trafficking specificity is mediated by preferential high affinity interactions between particular v (vesicle membrane)- and t (target membrane)-SNARE combinations. The specificity of interactions among a diverse set of SNAREs, however, is unknown. We have tested the SNARE hypothesis by analyzing potential SNARE complexes between five proteins of the vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP) family, three members of the synaptosome-associated protein-25 (SNAP-25) family and three members of the syntaxin family. All of the 21 combinations of SNAREs tested formed stable complexes. Sixteen were resistant to SDS denaturation, and most complexes thermally denatured between 70 and 90 degreesC. These results suggest that the specificity of membrane fusion is not encoded by the interactions between SNAREs.  (+info)

(4/3607) Treatment of mouse oocytes with PI-PLC releases 70-kDa (pI 5) and 35- to 45-kDa (pI 5.5) protein clusters from the egg surface and inhibits sperm-oolemma binding and fusion.

The effect of phosphatidyinositol-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC) on mouse sperm-egg interaction was investigated in this study to determine if glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins are involved in mammalian fertilization. When both sperm and zona-intact oocytes were pretreated with a highly purified preparation of PI-PLC and coincubated, there was no significant effect on sperm-zona pellucida binding; however, fertilization was reduced from 59.6% (control group) to 2.8% (treatment group). A similar reduction in fertilization rates was found when zona-intact oocytes were treated with PI-PLC and washed prior to incubation with untreated sperm. The effect of PI-PLC on sperm binding and fusion with zona-free oocytes was then investigated. Treatment of sperm with PI-PLC had no significant effect on sperm-egg binding or fusion. However, treatment of eggs with PI-PLC significantly reduced sperm-egg binding and fusion from 6.2 bound and 2.1 fused sperm per egg in the control group to 2.1 bound and 0.02 fused sperm per egg in the treatment group. This decrease in sperm-egg binding and fusion depended on the dose of PI-PLC employed, with a maximal inhibitory effect on binding and fusion at 5 and 1 U/ml, respectively. PI-PLC-treated oocytes could be artificially activated by calcium ionophore, demonstrating that the oocytes were functionally viable following treatment. Furthermore, treatment of oocytes with PI-PLC did not reduce the immunoreactivity of the non-GPI-anchored egg surface integrin, alpha6beta1. Taken together, these observations support the hypothesis that PI-PLC affects fertilization by specifically releasing GPI-anchored proteins from the oolemma. In order to identify the oolemmal GPI-anchored proteins involved in fertilization, egg surface proteins were labeled with sulfo-NHS biotin, treated with PI-PLC, and analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by avidin blotting. A prominent high-molecular-weight protein cluster (approximately 70 kDa, pI 5) and a lower molecular weight (approximately 35-45 kDa, pI 5.5) protein cluster were released from the oolemmal surface as a result of PI-PLC treatment. It is likely that these GPI-anchored egg surface proteins are required for sperm-egg binding and fusion.  (+info)

(5/3607) Genetic interactions between KAR7/SEC71, KAR8/JEM1, KAR5, and KAR2 during nuclear fusion in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

During mating of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, two nuclei fuse to produce a single diploid nucleus. Two genes, KAR7 and KAR8, were previously identified by mutations that cause defects in nuclear membrane fusion. KAR7 is allelic to SEC71, a gene involved in protein translocation into the endoplasmic reticulum. Two other translocation mutants, sec63-1 and sec72Delta, also exhibited moderate karyogamy defects. Membranes from kar7/sec71Delta and sec72Delta, but not sec63-1, exhibited reduced membrane fusion in vitro, but only at elevated temperatures. Genetic interactions between kar7 and kar5 mutations were suggestive of protein-protein interactions. Moreover, in sec71 mutants, Kar5p was absent from the SPB and was not detected by Western blot or immunoprecipitation of pulse-labeled protein. KAR8 is allelic to JEMI, encoding an endoplasmic reticulum resident DnaJ protein required for nuclear fusion. Overexpression of KAR8/JEM1 (but not SEC63) strongly suppressed the mating defect of kar2-1, suggesting that Kar2p interacts with Kar8/Jem1p for nuclear fusion. Electron microscopy analysis of kar8 mutant zygotes revealed a nuclear fusion defect different from kar2, kar5, and kar7/sec71 mutants. Analysis of double mutants suggested that Kar5p acts before Kar8/Jem1p. We propose the existence of a nuclear envelope fusion chaperone complex in which Kar2p, Kar5p, and Kar8/Jem1p are key components and Sec71p and Sec72p play auxiliary roles.  (+info)

(6/3607) Rat liver GTP-binding proteins mediate changes in mitochondrial membrane potential and organelle fusion.

The variety of mitochondrial morphology in healthy and diseased cells can be explained by regulated mitochondrial fusion. Previously, a mitochondrial outer membrane fraction containing fusogenic, aluminum fluoride (AlF4)-sensitive GTP-binding proteins (mtg) was separated from rat liver (J. D. Cortese, Exp. Cell Res. 240: 122-133, 1998). Quantitative confocal microscopy now reveals that mtg transiently increases mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsi) when added to permeabilized rat hepatocytes (15%), rat fibroblasts (19%), and rabbit myocytes (10%). This large mtg-induced DeltaPsi increment is blocked by fusogenic GTPase-specific modulators such as guanosine 5'-O-(3-thiotriphosphate), excess GTP (>100 microM), and AlF4, suggesting a linkage between DeltaPsi and mitochondrial fusion. Accordingly, stereometric analysis shows that decreasing DeltaPsi or ATP synthesis with respiratory inhibitors limits mtg- and AlF4-induced mitochondrial fusion. Also, a specific G protein inhibitor (Bordetella pertussis toxin) hyperpolarizes mitochondria and leads to a loss of AlF4-dependent mitochondrial fusion. These results place mtg-induced DeltaPsi changes upstream of AlF4-induced mitochondrial fusion, suggesting that GTPases exert DeltaPsi-dependent control of the fusion process. Mammalian mitochondrial morphology thus can be modulated by cellular energetics.  (+info)

(7/3607) Liposomes fuse with sperm cells and induce activation by delivery of impermeant agents.

Sperm cell activation is a critical step in fertilization. To directly investigate the cell signaling events leading to sperm activation it is necessary to deliver membrane impermeant agents into the cytoplasm. In this study, the use of liposomes as possible agent-loading vectors was examined using (1) the octadecylrhodamine B (R18) and NBD phosphatidylethanolamine (NBD DHPE)/rhodamine phosphatidylethanolamine (rhod DHPE) fusion assays in bulk samples, (2) membrane transfer of fluorescence from liposome membranes labeled with R18 and rhodamine-tagged phosphatidylethanolamine (TRITC DHPE), and (3) lumenal transfer of impermeant calcium ions from liposomes to sperm cells, a process that stimulated sperm cell activation. Intermediate-sized unilamellar liposomes (98.17+/-15.34 nm) were prepared by the detergent-removal technique using sodium cholate as the detergent and a phosphatidylcholine/phosphatidylethanolamine/cholesterol (2:1:1 mole ratio) lipid composition. In the R18 fusion assays, self-quenching increased logarithmically with increasing concentrations of R18 in the liposome membranes; addition of unlabeled sperm to R18-labeled liposomes lead to a rapid release of self-quenching. In the NBD DHPE/rhod DHPE resonance energy transfer (RET) fusion assay, RET was rapidly reduced under similar conditions. In addition, individual sperm became fluorescent when TRITC DHPE-labeled liposomes were incubated with unlabeled sperm cells. Incubation of sperm cells with empty liposomes did not significantly affect sperm cell activation and did not alter cell morphology. However, incubation with Ca (10 mM)-loaded liposomes resulted in a time-dependent increase in sperm cell activation (7.5-fold over controls after 15 min). We conclude that liposomes can be used for direct loading of membrane-impermeant agents into sea squirt sperm cell cytoplasm, and that delivery occurs via fusion and content intermixing.  (+info)

(8/3607) Effects of double-site mutations of vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein G on membrane fusion activity.

Site-directed mutagenesis of specific amino acids within a conserved amino-terminal region (H2) and a conserved carboxyl-terminal region (H10/A4) of the fusion protein G of vesicular stomatitis virus have previously identified these two segments as an internal fusion peptide and a region influencing low-pH induced conformational change, respectively. Here, we combined a number of the substitution mutants in the H2 and H10/A4 regions to produce a series of double-site mutants and determined the effect of these mutations on membrane fusion activity at acid pH and on pH-dependent conformational change. The results show that most of the double-site mutants have decreased cell-cell fusion activity and that the effects appeared to be additive in terms of inhibition of fusion, except for one mutant, which appeared to be a revertant. The double-site mutants also had pH optima for fusion that were lower than those observed with wild-type G but same as the pH optima for the parent fusion peptide (H2) mutants. The results suggest that although the H2 and H10/A4 sites may affect membrane fusion independently, a possible interaction between these two sites cannot be ruled out.  (+info)