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Irreversible assembly of membrane fusion machines

A large kinetic barrier prevents spontaneous disassembly of SNARE complexes, complicating thermodynamic measurements and resulting in hysteresis. Nonetheless, this kinetic barrier is probably crucial for SNARE function.

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Correspondence to Doug Barrick or Frederick M. Hughson.

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Figure 1: Schematic drawings of SNARE-mediated protein assembly.
Figure 2: Hysteresis loops in magnetization of a ferromagnetic metal (left) and in assembly/disassembly of SNARE complexes (right).