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Dev Cell. 2015 Mar 9;32(5):561-73. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2015.01.005. Epub 2015 Feb 12.

Mechanical tension drives cell membrane fusion.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
2
Department of Cell Biology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
3
Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
4
Laboratory of Bioengineering and Physical Science, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
5
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA. Electronic address: echen@jhmi.edu.

Abstract

Membrane fusion is an energy-consuming process that requires tight juxtaposition of two lipid bilayers. Little is known about how cells overcome energy barriers to bring their membranes together for fusion. Previously, we have shown that cell-cell fusion is an asymmetric process in which an "attacking" cell drills finger-like protrusions into the "receiving" cell to promote cell fusion. Here, we show that the receiving cell mounts a Myosin II (MyoII)-mediated mechanosensory response to its invasive fusion partner. MyoII acts as a mechanosensor, which directs its force-induced recruitment to the fusion site, and the mechanosensory response of MyoII is amplified by chemical signaling initiated by cell adhesion molecules. The accumulated MyoII, in turn, increases cortical tension and promotes fusion pore formation. We propose that the protrusive and resisting forces from fusion partners put the fusogenic synapse under high mechanical tension, which helps to overcome energy barriers for membrane apposition and drives cell membrane fusion.

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PMID:
25684354
PMCID:
PMC4357538
DOI:
10.1016/j.devcel.2015.01.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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