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The Journal of Cell Biology


The homotypic fusion of yeast vacuoles requires Sec18p (NSF)-driven priming to allow vacuole docking, but the mechanism that links priming and docking is unknown. We find that a large multisubunit protein called the Vam2/6p complex is bound to cis-paired SNAP receptors (SNAREs) on isolated vacuoles. This association of the Vam2/6p complex with the cis-SNARE complex is disrupted during priming. The Vam2/6p complex then binds to Ypt7p, a guanosine triphosphate binding protein of the Rab family, to initiate productive contact between vacuoles. Thus, cis-SNARE complexes can contain Rab/Ypt effectors, and these effectors can be mobilized by NSF/Sec18p-driven priming, allowing their direct association with a Rab/Ypt protein to activate docking.