Structural identification of the VPS18 {beta}-propeller reveals a critical role in the hops complex stability and function [Cell Biology]

October 16th, 2014 by Behrmann, H., Lurick, A., Kuhlee, A., Balderhaar, H. K., Brocker, C., Kummel, D., Engelbrecht–Vandre, S., Gohlke, U., Raunser, S., Heinemann, U., Ungermann, C.

Membrane fusion at the vacuole, the lysosome equivalent in yeast, requires the HOPS tethering complex, which is recruited by the Rab7 GTPase Ypt7. HOPS provides a template for the assembly of SNAREs and thus likely confers fusion at a distinct position on vacu-oles. Five of the six subunits in HOPS have a similar domain prediction with strong simi-larity to COPII subunits and nuclear porins. Here, we show that Vps18 indeed has a 7-bladed β-propeller as its N-terminal domain by revealing its structure at 2.14 Angstroem. The Vps18 N-terminal domain can interact with the N-terminal part of Vps11 and also binds to lipids. Although deletion of the Vps18 N-terminal domain does not preclude HOPS assembly, as revealed by negative stain elec-tron microscopy, the complex is instable and cannot support membrane fusion in vitro. We thus conclude that the β-propeller of Vps18 is required for HOPS stability and function, and that it can serve as a starting point for further structural analyses of the HOPS tethering complex.