SNARE protein structure and function

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2003;19:493-517. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.19.110701.155609.


The SNARE superfamily has become, since its discovery approximately a decade ago, the most intensively studied element of the protein machinery involved in intracellular trafficking. Intracellular membrane fusion in eukaryotes requires SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive-factor attachment protein receptor) proteins that form complexes bridging the two membranes. Although common themes have emerged from structural and functional studies of SNAREs and other components of the eukaryotic membrane fusion machinery, there is still much to learn about how the assembly and activity of this machinery is choreographed in living cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism*
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Membrane Fusion / physiology*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / physiology
  • Protein Transport / physiology*
  • SNARE Proteins
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins*
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • SNARE Proteins
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins