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Trends Biochem Sci. 2002 Apr;27(4):183-90.

New insights into the mechanism of virus-induced membrane fusion.

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Dept of Biological Chemistry, Weizmann Institute of Science, 76100, The Harold S. and Harriet B. Professorial Chair in Cancer Research., Rehovot, Israel.


Infection by enveloped viruses requires fusion between the viral and cellular membranes, a process mediated by specific viral envelope glycoproteins. Information from studies with whole viruses, as well as protein dissection, has suggested that the fusion glycoprotein (F) from Paramyxoviridae, a family that includes major human pathogens, has two hydrophobic segments, termed fusion peptides. These peptides are directly responsible for the membrane fusion event. The recently determined three-dimensional structure of the pre-fusion conformation of the F protein supported these predictions and enabled the formulation of: (1) a detailed model for the initial interaction between F and the target membrane, (2) a new model for Paramyxovirus-induced membrane fusion that can be extended to other viral families, and (3) a novel strategy for developing better inhibitors of paramyxovirus infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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