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Cell. 2014 Apr 10;157(2):407-419. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.02.020.

Structural basis of eukaryotic cell-cell fusion.

Author information

1
Institut Pasteur, Unité de Virologie Structurale, 25-28 Rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France; CNRS UMR 3569, 25-28 Rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France.
2
Department of Biology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel.
3
Institut Pasteur, Protéopôle-Plate-forme de Cristallogenèse, CNRS UMR 3528, 25-28 Rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France.
4
Université Grenoble Alpes, 6 rue Jules Horowitz, UVHCI, 38042 Grenoble Cedex 9, France; CNRS, UVHCI, 6 rue Jules Horowitz, 38042 Grenoble Cedex 9, France; Unit for Virus Host-Cell Interactions, 6 rue Jules Horowitz, Université Grenoble Alpes-EMBL-CNRS, 38042 Grenoble Cedex 9, France.
5
Department of Biology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel. Electronic address: podbilew@technion.ac.il.
6
Institut Pasteur, Unité de Virologie Structurale, 25-28 Rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France; CNRS UMR 3569, 25-28 Rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France. Electronic address: rey@pasteur.fr.

Abstract

Cell-cell fusion proteins are essential in development. Here we show that the C. elegans cell-cell fusion protein EFF-1 is structurally homologous to viral class II fusion proteins. The 2.6 Å crystal structure of the EFF-1 trimer displays the same 3D fold and quaternary conformation of postfusion class II viral fusion proteins, although it lacks a nonpolar "fusion loop," indicating that it does not insert into the target membrane. EFF-1 was previously shown to be required in both cells for fusion, and we show that blocking EFF-1 trimerization blocks the fusion reaction. Together, these data suggest that whereas membrane fusion driven by viral proteins entails leveraging of a nonpolar loop, EFF-1-driven fusion of cells entails trans-trimerization such that transmembrane segments anchored in the two opposing membranes are brought into contact at the tip of the EFF-1 trimer to then, analogous to SNARE-mediated vesicle fusion, zip the two membranes into one.

PMID:
24725407
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2014.02.020
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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