Focused clamping of a single neuronal SNARE complex by complexin under high mechanical tension
Authors and Affiliations
Neuronal soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (SNAREs) catalyze synaptic vesicle fusion with presynaptic membranes through the formation of SNARE complexes. Complexin (Cpx) is the only presynaptic protein that tightly binds to SNAREs and regulates membrane fusion, but how it modulates the energy landscape of SNARE complex assembly, especially under mechanical tension on the complex, remains unclear. Here, using magnetic tweezers, we report how Cpx interacts with single SNARE complexes. The effects of Cpx manifest only under high mechanical tensions above 13?pN. Cpx stabilizes the central four-helix bundle of SNARE motifs and, at the same time, prevents the complete zippering of SNAREs by inhibiting linker-domain assembly. These results suggest that Cpx generates a focused clamp for the neuronal SNARE complex in a linker-open conformation. Our results provide a hint as to how Cpx cooperates with neuronal SNAREs to prime synaptic vesicles in preparation for synchronous neurotransmitter release.