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Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2000 Oct;10(5):607-15.

Protein machines and lipid assemblies: current views of cell membrane fusion.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, CB#7260, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7260, USA.


Protein machines and lipid bilayers both play central roles in cell membrane fusion, a process crucial to life. Recent results provide clues to how both components function in fusion. Recent observations suggest a common mechanism by which very different fusion machines (from lipid-enveloped viruses and synaptic vesicles) may function to produce compartment-joining pores. This mechanism presumes that fusion proteins act as machines that use stored conformational energy to assemble closely juxtaposed lipid bilayers, bend these to form fusion-competent structures, stabilize unfavorable lipid structures and destabilize a committed intermediate to drive fusion pore formation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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