SNARE domain proteins are key molecules mediating intracellular fusion events. SNAP25 family proteins are unique target-SNAREs possessing two SNARE domains. Here we report the genetic, molecular, and cell biological characterization of C. elegans SNAP-29. We found that snap-29 is an essential gene required throughout the life-cycle. Depletion of snap-29 by RNAi in adults results in sterility associated with endomitotic oocytes and pre-meiotic maturation of the oocytes. Many of the embryos that are produced are multinucleated, indicating a defect in embryonic cytokinesis. A profound defect in secretion by oocytes and early embryos in animals lacking SNAP-29 appears to be the underlying defect connecting these phenotypes. Further analysis revealed defects in basolateral and apical secretion by intestinal epithelial cells in animals lacking SNAP-29, indicating a broad requirement for this protein in the secretory pathway. A SNAP-29-GFP fusion protein was enriched on recycling endosomes, and loss of SNAP-29 disrupted recycling endosome morphology. Taken together these results suggest a requirement for SNAP-29 in the fusion of post-Golgi vesicles with the recycling endosome for cargo to reach the cell surface.
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