Spring-loaded unraveling of a single SNARE complex by NSF in one round of ATP turnover

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Science  27 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6229, pp. 1485-1489
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa5267

An explosive way to fuse membranes

The molecular machine that promotes membrane fusion during intracellular transport involves a number of so-called SNARE proteins. Ryu et al. describe the molecular mechanism by which two proteins —NSF and α-SNAP—disassemble SNARE complexes. A combination of single-molecule techniques resolved intermediate steps of the reaction. Surprisingly, unlike previously assumed, NSF did not unwind SNARE complexes processively. Instead, built-up tension was released in a single burst to “tear” the SNARE complex apart in a one-step global unfolding reaction.

Science, this issue p. 1485