Honors & Awards

  • Mümin Tansever Student Clubs Activity Award, Bogazici University (2008)

Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Univ of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2015)
  • Bachelor of Science, Bogazici University (2008)


All Publications

  • Functional synergy between the Munc13 C-terminal C-1 and C-2 domains ELIFE Liu, X., Seven, A. B., Camacho, M., Esser, V., Xu, J., Trimbuch, T., Quade, B., Su, L., Ma, C., Rosenmund, C., Rizo, J. 2016; 5


    Neurotransmitter release requires SNARE complexes to bring membranes together, NSF-SNAPs to recycle the SNAREs, Munc18-1 and Munc13s to orchestrate SNARE complex assembly, and Synaptotagmin-1 to trigger fast Ca(2+)-dependent membrane fusion. However, it is unclear whether Munc13s function upstream and/or downstream of SNARE complex assembly, and how the actions of their multiple domains are integrated. Reconstitution, liposome-clustering and electrophysiological experiments now reveal a functional synergy between the C1, C2B and C2C domains of Munc13-1, indicating that these domains help bridging the vesicle and plasma membranes to facilitate stimulation of SNARE complex assembly by the Munc13-1 MUN domain. Our reconstitution data also suggest that Munc18-1, Munc13-1, NSF, αSNAP and the SNAREs are critical to form a 'primed' state that does not fuse but is ready for fast fusion upon Ca(2+) influx. Overall, our results support a model whereby the multiple domains of Munc13s cooperate to coordinate synaptic vesicle docking, priming and fusion.

    View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.13696

    View details for PubMedID 27213521

  • Conformational Plasticity in the Transsynaptic Neurexin-Cerebellin-Glutamate Receptor Adhesion Complex. Structure (London, England : 1993) Cheng, S., Seven, A. B., Wang, J., Skiniotis, G., Özkan, E. 2016; 24 (12): 2163–73


    Synaptic specificity is a defining property of neural networks. In the cerebellum, synapses between parallel fiber neurons and Purkinje cells are specified by the simultaneous interactions of secreted protein cerebellin with pre-synaptic neurexin and post-synaptic delta-type glutamate receptors (GluD). Here, we determined the crystal structures of the trimeric C1q-like domain of rat cerebellin-1, and the first complete ectodomain of a GluD, rat GluD2. Cerebellin binds to the LNS6 domain of α- and β-neurexin-1 through a high-affinity interaction that involves its highly flexible N-terminal domain. In contrast, we show that the interaction of cerebellin with isolated GluD2 ectodomain is low affinity, which is not simply an outcome of lost avidity when compared with binding with a tetrameric full-length receptor. Rather, high-affinity capture of cerebellin by post-synaptic terminals is likely controlled by long-distance regulation within this transsynaptic complex. Altogether, our results suggest unusual conformational flexibility within all components of the complex.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.str.2016.11.004

    View details for PubMedID 27926833

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5149402

  • Dynamic binding mode of a Synaptotagmin-1-SNARE complex in solution NATURE STRUCTURAL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY Brewer, K. D., Bacaj, T., Cavalli, A., Camilloni, C., Swarbrick, J. D., Liu, J., Zhou, A., Zhou, P., Barlow, N., Xu, J., Seven, A. B., Prinslow, E. A., Voleti, R., Haeussinger, D., Bonvin, A. M., Tomchick, D. R., Vendruscolo, M., Graham, B., Suedhof, T. C., Rizo, J. 2015; 22 (7): 555-?


    Rapid neurotransmitter release depends on the Ca(2+) sensor Synaptotagmin-1 (Syt1) and the SNARE complex formed by synaptobrevin, syntaxin-1 and SNAP-25. How Syt1 triggers release has been unclear, partly because elucidating high-resolution structures of Syt1-SNARE complexes has been challenging. An NMR approach based on lanthanide-induced pseudocontact shifts now reveals a dynamic binding mode in which basic residues in the concave side of the Syt1 C2B-domain β-sandwich interact with a polyacidic region of the SNARE complex formed by syntaxin-1 and SNAP-25. The physiological relevance of this dynamic structural model is supported by mutations in basic residues of Syt1 that markedly impair SNARE-complex binding in vitro and Syt1 function in neurons. Mutations with milder effects on binding have correspondingly milder effects on Syt1 function. Our results support a model whereby dynamic interaction facilitates cooperation between Syt1 and the SNAREs in inducing membrane fusion.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nsmb.3035

    View details for Web of Science ID 000357614900007

    View details for PubMedID 26030874

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4496268

  • Prevalent mechanism of membrane bridging by synaptotagmin-1 PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Seven, A. B., Brewer, K. D., Shi, L., Jiang, Q., Rizo, J. 2013; 110 (34): E3243-E3252


    Synaptotagmin-1 functions as a Ca(2+) sensor in neurotransmitter release through its two C2 domains (the C2A and C2B domain). The ability of synaptotagmin-1 to bridge two membranes is likely crucial for its function, enabling cooperation with the soluble N-ethylmaleimide sensitive factor adaptor protein receptors (SNAREs) in membrane fusion, but two bridging mechanisms have been proposed. A highly soluble synaptotagmin-1 fragment containing both domains (C2AB) was shown to bind simultaneously to two membranes via the Ca(2+)-binding loops at the top of both domains and basic residues at the bottom of the C2B domain (direct bridging mechanism). In contrast, a longer fragment including a linker sequence (lnC2AB) was found to aggregate in solution and was proposed to bridge membranes through trans interactions between lnC2AB oligomers bound to each membrane via the Ca(2+)-binding loops, with no contact of the bottom of the C2B domain with the membranes. We now show that lnC2AB containing impurities indeed aggregates in solution, but properly purified lnC2AB is highly soluble. Moreover, cryo-EM images reveal that a majority of lnC2AB molecules bridge membranes directly. Fluorescence spectroscopy indicates that the bottom of the C2B domain contacts the membrane in a sizeable population of molecules of both membrane-bound C2AB and membrane-bound lnC2AB. NMR data on nanodiscs show that a fraction of C2AB molecules bind to membranes with antiparallel orientations of the C2 domains. Together with previous studies, these results show that direct bridging constitutes the prevalent mechanism of membrane bridging by both C2AB and lnC2AB, suggesting that this mechanism underlies the function of synaptotagmin-1 in neurotransmitter release.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1310327110

    View details for Web of Science ID 000323271400015

    View details for PubMedID 23918375

  • Reconstitution of the Vital Functions of Munc18 and Munc13 in Neurotransmitter Release SCIENCE Ma, C., Su, L., Seven, A. B., Xu, Y., Rizo, J. 2013; 339 (6118): 421-425


    Neurotransmitter release depends critically on Munc18-1, Munc13, the Ca(2+) sensor synaptotagmin-1, and the soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF) attachment protein (SNAP) receptors (SNAREs) syntaxin-1, synaptobrevin, and SNAP-25. In vitro reconstitutions have shown that syntaxin-1-SNAP-25 liposomes fuse efficiently with synaptobrevin liposomes in the presence of synaptotagmin-1-Ca(2+), but neurotransmitter release also requires Munc18-1 and Munc13 in vivo. We found that Munc18-1 could displace SNAP-25 from syntaxin-1 and that fusion of syntaxin-1-Munc18-1 liposomes with synaptobrevin liposomes required Munc13, in addition to SNAP-25 and synaptotagmin-1-Ca(2+). Moreover, when starting with syntaxin-1-SNAP-25 liposomes, NSF-α-SNAP disassembled the syntaxin-1-SNAP-25 heterodimers and abrogated fusion, which then required Munc18-1 and Munc13. We propose that fusion does not proceed through syntaxin-1-SNAP-25 heterodimers but starts with the syntaxin-1-Munc18-1 complex; Munc18-1 and Munc13 then orchestrate membrane fusion together with the SNAREs and synaptotagmin-1-Ca(2+) in an NSF- and SNAP-resistant manner.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1230473

    View details for Web of Science ID 000313960700036

    View details for PubMedID 23258414

  • Membrane Bridging and Hemifusion by Denaturated Munc18 PLOS ONE Xu, Y., Seven, A., Su, L., Jiang, Q., Rizo, J. 2011; 6 (7)


    Neuronal Munc18-1 and members of the Sec1/Munc18 (SM) protein family play a critical function(s) in intracellular membrane fusion together with SNARE proteins, but the mechanism of action of SM proteins remains highly enigmatic. During experiments designed to address this question employing a 7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazole (NBD) fluorescence de-quenching assay that is widely used to study lipid mixing between reconstituted proteoliposomes, we observed that Munc18-1 from squid (sMunc18-1) was able to increase the apparent NBD fluorescence emission intensity even in the absence of SNARE proteins. Fluorescence emission scans and dynamic light scattering experiments show that this phenomenon arises at least in part from increased light scattering due to sMunc18-1-induced liposome clustering. Nuclear magnetic resonance and circular dichroism data suggest that, although native sMunc18-1 does not bind significantly to lipids, sMunc18-1 denaturation at 37 °C leads to insertion into membranes. The liposome clustering activity of sMunc18-1 can thus be attributed to its ability to bridge two membranes upon (perhaps partial) denaturation; correspondingly, this activity is hindered by addition of glycerol. Cryo-electron microscopy shows that liposome clusters induced by sMunc18-1 include extended interfaces where the bilayers of two liposomes come into very close proximity, and clear hemifusion diaphragms. Although the physiological relevance of our results is uncertain, they emphasize the necessity of complementing fluorescence de-quenching assays with alternative experiments in studies of membrane fusion, as well as the importance of considering the potential effects of protein denaturation. In addition, our data suggest a novel mechanism of membrane hemifusion induced by amphipathic macromolecules that does not involve formation of a stalk intermediate.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0022012

    View details for Web of Science ID 000292632000046

    View details for PubMedID 21765933

  • NMR Structure and Calcium-Binding Properties of the Tellurite Resistance Protein TerD from Klebsiella pneumoniae JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR BIOLOGY Pan, Y., Lou, Y., Seven, A. B., Rizo, J., Chen, C. 2011; 405 (5): 1188-1201


    The tellurium oxyanion TeO(3)(2-) has been used in the treatment of infectious diseases caused by mycobacteria. However, many pathogenic bacteria show tellurite resistance. Several tellurite resistance genes have been identified, and these genes mediate responses to diverse extracellular stimuli, but the mechanisms underlying their functions are unknown. To shed light on the function of KP-TerD, a 20.5 -kDa tellurite resistance protein from a plasmid of Klebsiella pneumoniae, we have determined its three-dimensional structure in solution using NMR spectroscopy. KP-TerD contains a β-sandwich formed by two five-stranded β-sheets and six short helices. The structure exhibits two negative clusters in loop regions on the top of the sandwich, suggesting that KP-TerD may bind metal ions. Indeed, thermal denaturation experiments monitored by circular dichroism and NMR studies reveal that KP-TerD binds Ca(2+). Inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy shows that the binding ratio of KP-TerD to Ca(2+) is 1:2. EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) titrations of Ca(2+)-saturated KP-TerD monitored by one-dimensional NMR yield estimated dissociation constants of 18  and 200 nM for the two Ca(2+)-binding sites of KP-TerD. NMR structures incorporating two Ca(2+) ions define a novel bipartite Ca(2)(+)-binding motif that is predicted to be highly conserved in TerD proteins. Moreover, these Ca(2+)-binding sites are also predicted to be present in two additional tellurite resistance proteins, TerE and TerZ. These results suggest that some form of Ca(2+) signaling plays a crucial role in tellurite resistance and in other responses of bacteria to multiple external stimuli that depend on the Ter genes.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jmb.2010.11.041

    View details for Web of Science ID 000287340200006

    View details for PubMedID 21112337