The t-SNARE in a late Golgi compartment (Tlg2p) syntaxin is required for endocytosis and localization of cycling proteins to the late Golgi compartment in yeast. We show here that Tlg2p assembles with two light chains, Tlg1p and Vti1p, to form a functional t-SNARE that mediates fusion, specifically with the v-SNAREs Snc1p and Snc2p. In vitro, this t-SNARE is inert, locked in a nonfunctional state, unless it is activated for fusion. Activation can be mediated by a peptide derived from the v-SNARE, which likely bypasses additional regulatory proteins in the cell. Locking t-SNAREs creates the potential for spatial and temporal regulation of fusion by signaling processes that unleash their fusion capacity.

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