Soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (SNAREs) are membrane-associated trafficking proteins that confer identity to lipid membranes and facilitate membrane fusion. These functions are achieved through the complexing of Q-SNAREs with a specific cognate target R-SNARE, leading to the fusion of their associated membranes. These SNARE complexes then dissociate so that the Q-SNAREs and R-SNAREs can repeat this cycle. Whilst the basic function of SNAREs has been long appreciated, it is becoming increasingly clear that the cell can control the localisation and function of SNARE proteins through posttranslational modifications (PTMs), such as phosphorylation and ubiquitylation. Whilst numerous proteomic methods have shown that SNARE proteins are subject to these modifications, little is known about how these modifications regulate SNARE function. However, it is clear that these PTMs provide cells with an incredible functional plasticity; SNARE PTMs enable cells to respond to an ever-changing extracellular environment through the rerouting of membrane traffic. In this Review, we summarise key findings regarding SNARE regulation by PTMs and discuss how these modifications reprogramme membrane trafficking pathways.

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