Here, we review recent insights into the neuronal presynaptic fusion machinery that releases neurotransmitter molecules into the synaptic cleft upon stimulation. The structure of the pre-fusion state of the SNARE/complexin-1/synaptotagmin-1 synaptic protein complex suggests a new model for the initiation of fast Ca2+-triggered membrane fusion. Functional studies have revealed roles of the essential factors Munc18 and Munc13, demonstrating that a part of their function involves the proper assembly of synaptic protein complexes. Near-atomic resolution structures of the NSF/αSNAP/SNARE complex provide first glimpses of the molecular machinery that disassembles the SNARE complex during the synaptic vesicle cycle. These structures show how this machinery captures the SNARE substrate and provide clues as to a possible processing mechanism.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.