Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Vibrio effector protein VopQ inhibits fusion of V-ATPase-containing membranes.

PMID 25453092


Vesicle fusion governs many important biological processes, and imbalances in the regulation of membrane fusion can lead to a variety of diseases such as diabetes and neurological disorders. Here we show that the Vibrio parahaemolyticus effector protein VopQ is a potent inhibitor of membrane fusion based on an in vitro yeast vacuole fusion model. Previously, we demonstrated that VopQ binds to the V(o) domain of the conserved V-type H(+)-ATPase (V-ATPase) found on acidic compartments such as the yeast vacuole. VopQ forms a nonspecific, voltage-gated membrane channel of 18 Å resulting in neutralization of these compartments. We now present data showing that VopQ inhibits yeast vacuole fusion. Furthermore, we identified a unique mutation in VopQ that delineates its two functions, deacidification and inhibition of membrane fusion. The use of VopQ as a membrane fusion inhibitor in this manner now provides convincing evidence that vacuole fusion occurs independently of luminal acidification in vitro.