Sec1p binds to SNARE complexes and concentrates at sites of secretion.
Proteins of the Sec1 family have been shown to interact with target-membrane t-SNAREs that are homologous to the neuronal protein syntaxin. We demonstrate that yeast Sec1p coprecipitates not only the syntaxin homologue Ssop, but also the other two exocytic SNAREs (Sec9p and Sncp) in amounts and in proportions characteristic of SNARE complexes in yeast lysates. The interaction between Sec1p and Ssop is limited by the abundance of SNARE complexes present in sec mutants that are defective in either SNARE complex assembly or disassembly. Furthermore, the localization of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged Sec1p coincides with sites of vesicle docking and fusion where SNARE complexes are believed to assemble and function. The proposal that SNARE complexes act as receptors for Sec1p is supported by the mislocalization of GFP-Sec1p in a mutant defective for SNARE complex assembly and by the robust localization of GFP-Sec1p in a mutant that fails to disassemble SNARE complexes. The results presented here place yeast Sec1p at the core of the exocytic fusion machinery, bound to SNARE complexes and localized to sites of secretion.