Fusion of vesicles with target membranes is dependent on the interaction of target (t) and vesicle (v) SNARE (soluble NSF (N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein) attachment protein receptor) proteins located on opposing membranes. For fusion at the plasma membrane, the t-SNARE SNAP-25 is essential. In Drosophila, the only known SNAP-25 isoform is specific to neuronal axons and synapses and additional t-SNAREs must exist that mediate both non-synaptic fusion in neurons and constitutive and regulated fusion in other cells. Here we report the identification and characterization of SNAP-24, a closely related Drosophila SNAP-25 homologue, that is expressed throughout development. The spatial distribution of SNAP-24 in the nervous system is punctate and, unlike SNAP-25, is not concentrated in synaptic regions. In vitro studies, however, show that SNAP-24 can form core complexes with syntaxin and both synaptic and non-synaptic v-SNAREs. High levels of SNAP-24 are found in larval salivary glands, where SNAP-24 localizes mainly to granule membranes rather than the plasma membrane. During glue secretion, the massive exocytotic event of these glands, SNAP-24 containing granules fuse with one another and the apical membrane, suggesting that glue secretion utilizes compound exocytosis and that SNAP-24 mediates secretion.

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