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Trends Cell Biol. 1998 Mar;8(3):93-6.

Microvilli and cell-cell fusion during fertilization.

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  • 1Dept of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235-9039, USA.


A number of fundamental biological processes, ranging from fertilization and embryonic development to viral infections, depend upon a complex interplay between cells that results in the fusion of their plasma membranes. Surprisingly, the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying cell-cell fusion remain largely unknown. Here, the authors discuss evidence suggesting that microvilli play a central role in fusion of many cells and present features of these actin-filled, cell-surface protrusions that might make them particularly well suited as cell-fusion organelles.

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