SNAREs are required for specific membrane fusion throughout the endomembrane system. Here we report the characterization of rat ykt6, a prenylated SNARE selectively expressed in brain neurons. Immunofluorescence microscopy in neuronal and neuroendocrine cell lines revealed that membrane-associated ykt6 did not colocalize significantly with any conventional markers of endosomes, lysosomes, or the secretory pathway. However, ykt6-containing membranes displayed very minor overlaps with lysosomes and dense-core secretory granules and were similar to lysosomes in buoyant density. Thus, ykt6 appears to be specialized for the trafficking of a unique membrane compartment, perhaps related to lysosomes, involved in aspects of neuronal function. Targeting of this SNARE to the ykt6 compartment was mediated by its profilin-like amino-terminal domain, even in the absence of protein prenylation. Although several other R-SNAREs contain related amino-terminal domains, only the ykt6 version was able to confer the specialized localization. Rat ykt6, which contains an arginine in its SNARE motif zero-layer, was found to behave like other R-SNAREs in its SNARE assembly properties. Interestingly, cytosolic ykt6, constituting more than half of the total cellular pool, appeared to be conformationally inactive for SNARE complex assembly, perhaps indicative of a regulatory mechanism that prevents promiscuous and potentially deleterious SNARE interactions.