Trafficking within eukaryotic cells is a complex and highly regulated process; events such as recycling of plasma membrane receptors, formation of multivesicular bodies, regulated release of hormones and delivery of proteins to membranes all require directionality and specificity. The underpinning processes, including cargo selection, membrane fusion, trafficking flow and timing, are controlled by a variety of molecular mechanisms and engage multiple families of lipids and proteins. Here, we will focus on control of trafficking processes via the action of the SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor) family of proteins, in particular their regulation by phosphorylation. We will describe how these proteins are controlled in a range of regulated trafficking events, with particular emphasis on the insulin-stimulated delivery of glucose transporters to the surface of adipose and muscle cells. Here, we focus on a few examples of SNARE phosphorylation which exemplify distinct ways in which SNARE machinery phosphorylation may regulate membrane fusion.

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