Making Fusion Happen

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Science  06 Aug 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5685, pp. 754
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5685.754b

Cell-cell fusion is a key process that occurs during fertilization as well as during the development of a variety of tissues such as muscle and bone. Intracellular and viral fusion events are relatively well characterized in terms of mechanisms and proteins [see Koshiba et al. (p. 858, this issue) and Meeusen et al. (Science Express, 5 Aug. 2004)], yet less is known about cell-cell fusion.

Shemer et al. examined developmental cell fusion in Caenorhabditis elegans. Previous analysis of eff-1 mutants had implicated cell fusion in establishing body and organ shape and size and in controlling cell migration. These authors find that ectopic expression of eff-1, which encodes a membrane protein, can directly promote epithelial cell fusion, as revealed by the mixing of cytoplasmic contents. In pharyngeal muscle cells, eff-1 appears to stimulate multiple microfusion events, but it is not required for cell fusion in other organs, such as the uterus. — SMH

Curr. Biol. 10.1016/s0960982204005585 (2004).

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