Mechanisms of membrane fusion: disparate players and common principles

  title={Mechanisms of membrane fusion: disparate players and common principles},
  author={Sascha Martens and Harvey T. McMahon},
  journal={Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology},
Membrane fusion can occur between cells, between different intracellular compartments, between intracellular compartments and the plasma membrane and between lipid-bound structures such as viral particles and cellular membranes. In order for membranes to fuse they must first be brought together. The more highly curved a membrane is, the more fusogenic it becomes. We discuss how proteins, including SNAREs, synaptotagmins and viral fusion proteins, might mediate close membrane apposition and… 

Mechanics of membrane fusion

The conserved fusion-through-hemifusion pathway of merger between biological membranes is discussed and it is proposed that the entire progression, from the close juxtaposition of membrane bilayers to the expansion of a fusion pore, is controlled by protein-generated membrane stresses.

GTP-dependent membrane fusion.

Recent advances in functional and molecular understanding of fusion DRPs are reviewed, exemplified by atlastin, an ER-resident DRP that controls ER structure, function, and signaling.

CHAPTER 6 C 2 Domains and Membrane Fusion

This chapter discusses how cellular proteins mediate the lipid rearrangements that are necessary for fusion to occur and discusses how this activity in combination with the energy provided by SNARE complex assembly brings about the extremely fast and controlled fusion of granules and synaptic vesicles.

5.14 The Biophysics of Membrane Fusion

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This review focuses on fusion and fission reactions and on the hypothetical shared mechanism that generates their driving force.

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It is shown that membrane lipid composition and lipidation are important to modulate membrane fusion and it is suggested that the fatty acyl hydrophobic tail not only acts as an anchor but may also modulate the energetics of membrane fusion intermediates.

C2 domains and membrane fusion.

Physical Aspects of Viral Membrane Fusion

This work focuses on the key dynamical aspects of fusion protein structure, along with some of the experimental and computational techniques presently being used to investigate viral-mediated membrane fusion.

Fusion of the endoplasmic reticulum by membrane-bound GTPases.




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It is found that, to a marked degree, the pattern of membrane flow in the cell is encoded and recapitulated by its isolated SNARE proteins, as predicted by the SNARE hypothesis.

Protein-lipid interplay in fusion and fission of biological membranes.

The phenomenology and the pathways of the well-characterized reactions of biological remodeling, such as fusion mediated by influenza hemagglutinin, are compared with those studied for protein-free bilayers and some proteins involved in fusion and fission are considered.

Yeast vacuole fusion: A model system for eukaryotic endomembrane dynamics

This review will present and discuss the current state of knowledge on vacuole fusion, and identify a number of fusion factors identified and characterized over the last several years, and placed into the fusion cascade.

Membrane Fusion

Fusion pores and fusion machines in Ca2+-triggered exocytosis.

Present knowledge of fusion machines and fusion pores studied in vitro, in neurons, and in neuroendocrine cells are summarized and synthesized into some specific and detailed hypotheses for exocytosis.

Regulated exocytosis: merging ideas on fusing membranes.

Virus membrane-fusion proteins: more than one way to make a hairpin

This review will focus on the properties of the more recently described class II proteins, which have radically different architectures but adopt a similar overall 'hairpin' conformation to induce fusion of the viral and cellular membranes and therefore initiate infection.

The Energetics of Membrane Fusion from Binding, through Hemifusion, Pore Formation, and Pore Enlargement

Experiments and theory converge to strongly indicate that the fusion process is progressively more energetically difficult: hemifusion has a relatively low energy barrier, pore formation is more energy-consuming, and pore enlargement is the most difficult to achieve.