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Mol Membr Biol. 2004 Nov-Dec;21(6):361-71.

Class I and class II viral fusion protein structures reveal similar principles in membrane fusion.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Grenoble, France.


Recent crystal structures of Flavivirus and Alphavirus fusion proteins (class II) confirm two major principles of protein machineries that mediate the merger of two opposing lipid bilayers. First, the fusion protein can bridge both membranes tethered by two membrane anchors. Second, refolding or domain rearrangement steps lead to the positioning of both anchors into close proximity at the same end of an elongated structure. Although these two steps are in principle sufficient to pull two opposing membranes together and initiate membrane fusion, accumulating evidence suggests that the process requires the concerted action of a number of fusion proteins at and outside the contact sites. This review will focus on the structures of viral class I and class II fusion proteins and their similarities in facilitating membrane fusion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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