An NSF function distinct from ATPase-dependent SNARE disassembly is essential for Golgi membrane fusion

Nat Cell Biol. 1999 Oct;1(6):335-40. doi: 10.1038/14025.


The precise biochemical role of N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF) in membrane fusion mediated by SNARE proteins is unclear. To provide further insight into the function of NSF, we have introduced a mutation into mammalian NSF that, in Drosophila dNSF-1, leads to temperature-sensitive neuroparalysis. This mutation is like the comatose mutation and renders the mammalian NSF temperature sensitive for fusion of postmitotic Golgi vesicles and tubules into intact cisternae. Unexpectedly, at the temperature that is permissive for membrane fusion, this mutant NSF binds to, but cannot disassemble, SNARE complexes and exhibits almost no ATPase activity. A well-charaterized NSF mutant containing an inactivating point mutation in the catalytic site of its ATPase domain is equally active in the Golgi-reassembly assay. These data indicate that the need for NSF during postmitotic Golgi membrane fusion may be distinct from its ATPase-dependent ability to break up SNARE pairs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / physiology*
  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology*
  • Cricetinae
  • Drosophila
  • Ethylmaleimide / metabolism*
  • Ethylmaleimide / pharmacology
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • Golgi Apparatus / physiology*
  • Intracellular Membranes / physiology*
  • Membrane Fusion / physiology*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mitosis
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • N-Ethylmaleimide-Sensitive Proteins
  • Nucleotides
  • Protein Conformation
  • SNARE Proteins
  • Temperature
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nucleotides
  • SNARE Proteins
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins
  • comt protein, Drosophila
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • N-Ethylmaleimide-Sensitive Proteins
  • Ethylmaleimide