William T. Wickner, MD
Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Harvard Medical School, MD 1973
Yale University, BA 1967
Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Programs
Dartmouth Medical School
Hanover NH 03755
Regulated fusion of membranes is essential for biological processes as diverse as neurotransmission, cell growth, and hormone secretion. The fundamental mechanism has been conserved among all membranes that fuse and all organisms, from yeast to humans. We study the fusion of yeast vacuoles for its unparalleled technical advantages: 1. The organelle can be purified and stored in quantity. 2. We have a rapid, colorimetric assay of in vitro vacuole fusion. 3. The superb genetics and genomics of this organism. Our studies combine structural, genetic, and enzymological approaches, and are leading to a molecular understanding of this basic process.
Song, H., Orr, A., Lee, M., Harner, M., and Wickner, W. (2020) HOPS recognizes each SNARE, assembling ternary trans-SNARE complexes for rapid fusion upon engagement with the 4th SNARE. eLife, DOI 10.7554/eLife.53559.
Torng, T., Song, H. and Wickner, W. (2020) Asymmetric Rab activation of vacuolar HOPS to catalyze SNARE complex assembly. Mol. Biol. Cell, DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E20-01-0019.
Eitzen, G., Will, E., Gallwitz, D., Haas, A., and Wickner, W. (2001). Sec17/Sec18 can support membrane fusion without help from completion of SNARE pairing. eLife, DOI: 10.7554/eLife.67578.