Sec1/Munc18 (SM) family proteins are essential for every vesicle fusion pathway. The best-characterized SM protein is the synaptic factor Munc18-1, but it remains unclear whether its functions represent conserved mechanisms of SM proteins or specialized activities in neurotransmitter release. To address this question, we dissected Munc18c, a functionally distinct SM protein involved in nonsynaptic exocytic pathways. We discovered that Munc18c binds to the trans-SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor) complex and strongly accelerates the fusion rate. Further analysis suggests that Munc18c recognizes both vesicle-rooted SNARE and target membrane-associated SNAREs, and promotes trans-SNARE zippering at the postdocking stage of the fusion reaction. The stimulation of fusion by Munc18c is specific to its cognate SNARE isoforms. Because Munc18-1 regulates fusion in a similar manner, we conclude that one conserved function of SM proteins is to bind their cognate trans-SNARE complexes and accelerate fusion kinetics. Munc18c also binds syntaxin- 4 monomer but does not block target membrane-associated SNARE assembly, in agreement with our observation that six- to eightfold increases in Munc18c expression do not inhibit insulinstimulated glucose uptake in adipocytes. Thus, the inhibitory "closed" syntaxin binding mode demonstrated for Munc18-1 is not conserved in Munc18c. Unexpectedly, we found that Munc18c recognizes the N-terminal region of the vesicle-rooted SNARE, whereas Munc18-1 requires the C-terminal sequences, suggesting that the architecture of the SNARE/SM complex likely differs across fusion pathways. Together, these comparative studies of two distinct SM proteins reveal conserved as well as divergent mechanisms of SM family proteins in intracellular vesicle fusion.