Principles of Exocytosis and Membrane Fusion


Address for correspondence: Reinhard Jahn, Department of Neurobiology, Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Am Fassberg, 37077 Göttingen. Voice: 49-551-201-1635; fax: 49-551-201-1639.


Abstract: Exocytosis is a ubiquitous process occurring in every eukaryotic cell including processes as diverse as membrane expansion during growth and the highly regulated release of neurotransmitter from neurons. Work during the past decade has established that exocytotic membrane fusion is mediated by members of conserved protein families including Rab proteins and SNAREs. SNAREs are probably catalyzing membrane fusion, and major progress has been made in unraveling their molecular mechanism. In contrast, less is known about regulatory mechanisms. Here, a brief overview is given about the current state of knowledge, focusing on SNAREs involved in neuronal exocytosis.