Docking, the stable association of secretory vesicles with the plasma membrane, is considered to be the necessary first step before vesicles gain fusion-competence, but it is unclear how vesicles dock. In adrenal medullary chromaffin cells, access of secretory vesicles to docking sites is controlled by dense F-actin (filamentous actin) beneath the plasma membrane. Recently, we found that, in the absence of Munc18-1, the number of docked vesicles and the thickness of cortical F-actin are affected. In the present paper, I discuss the possible mechanism by which Munc18-1 modulates cortical F-actin and how it orchestrates the docking machinery via an interaction with syntaxin-1. Finally, a comparison of Munc18's role in embryonic mouse and adult bovine chromaffin cell model systems will be made to clarify observed differences in cortical F-actin as well as docking phenotypes.

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