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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2003 Jul 11;1614(1):122-9.

Viral fusion proteins: multiple regions contribute to membrane fusion.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, The Weizmann Institute of Science, 76100, Rehovot, Israel.


In recent years, the simple picture of a viral fusion protein interacting with the cell and/or viral membranes by means of only two localized segments (i.e. the fusion peptide and the transmembrane domain) has given way to a more complex picture in which multiple regions from the viral proteins interact with membranes. Indeed, possible roles in membrane binding and/or destabilization have been postulated for the N-terminal heptad repeats, pre-transmembrane segments, and other internal regions of fusion proteins from distant viruses (such as orthomyxo-, retro-, paramyxo-, or flaviviruses). This review focuses on the experimental evidence and functional models postulated so far about the role of these regions in the process of virus-induced membrane fusion.

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