DOI: 10.1111/tpj.16451 ISSN:

A tyrosine phospho‐switch within the Longin domain of VAMP721 modulates SNARE functionality

Martiniano Maria Ricardi, Niklas Wallmeroth, Cecilia Cermesoni, Dietmar Gerald Mehlhorn, Sandra Richter, Lei Zhang, Josephine Mittendorf, Ingeborg Godehardt, Kenneth Wayne Berendzen, Edda von Roepenack‐Lahaye, York‐Dieter Stierhof, Volker Lipka, Gerd Jürgens, Christopher Grefen
  • Cell Biology
  • Plant Science
  • Genetics


The final step in secretion is membrane fusion facilitated by SNARE proteins that reside in opposite membranes. The formation of a trans‐SNARE complex between one R and three Q coiled‐coiled SNARE domains drives the final approach of the membranes providing the mechanical energy for fusion. Biological control of this mechanism is exerted by additional domains within some SNAREs. For example, the N‐terminal Longin domain (LD) of R‐SNAREs (also called Vesicle‐associated membrane proteins, VAMPs) can fold back onto the SNARE domain blocking interaction with other cognate SNAREs. The LD may also determine the subcellular localization via interaction with other trafficking‐related proteins. Here, we provide cell‐biological and genetic evidence that phosphorylation of the Tyrosine57 residue regulates the functionality of VAMP721. We found that an aspartate mutation mimics phosphorylation, leading to protein instability and subsequent degradation in lytic vacuoles. The mutant SNARE also fails to rescue the defects of vamp721vamp722 loss‐of‐function lines in spite of its wildtype‐like localization within the secretory pathway and the ability to interact with cognate SNARE partners. Most importantly, it imposes a dominant negative phenotype interfering with root growth, normal secretion and cytokinesis in wildtype plants generating large aggregates that mainly contain secretory vesicles. Non‐phosphorylatable VAMP721Y57F needs higher gene dosage to rescue double mutants in comparison to native VAMP721 underpinning that phosphorylation modulates SNARE function. We propose a model where short‐lived phosphorylation of Y57 serves as a regulatory step to control VAMP721 activity, favoring its open state and interaction with cognate partners to ultimately drive membrane fusion.

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