Munc13 catalyzes the transit of syntaxin from a closed complex with Munc18 into the ternary SNARE complex. Here we report a new function of Munc13, independent of Munc18: it promotes the proper syntaxin/synaptobrevin subconfiguration during assembly of the ternary SNARE complex. In cooperation with Munc18, Munc13 additionally ensures the proper syntaxin/SNAP-25 subconfiguration. In a reconstituted fusion assay with SNAREs, complexin, and synaptotagmin, inclusion of both Munc13 and Munc18 quadruples the Ca2+-triggered amplitude and achieves Ca2+ sensitivity at near-physiological concentrations. In Munc13-1/2 double-knockout neurons, expression of a constitutively open mutant of syntaxin could only minimally restore neurotransmitter release relative to Munc13-1 rescue. Together, the physiological functions of Munc13 may be related to regulation of proper SNARE complex assembly.
Keywords: Munc13; Munc18; complexin; neuronal SNAREs; neurotransmitter release; plasticity; priming; synaptotagmin.
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