Actin-Propelled Invasive Membrane Protrusions Promote Fusogenic Protein Engagement During Cell-Cell Fusion

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Science  19 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6130, pp. 359-363
DOI: 10.1126/science.1234781

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To Fuse or Not to Fuse?

Cell-cell fusion is poorly understood, although we know that in the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, it involves cell-surface fusogens and in the fly, Drosophila, the actin cytoskeleton plays a role. Shilagardi et al. (p. 359) reconstituted a high-efficiency, inducible cell-fusion culture system, in which they found that the C. elegans fusogen, Eff-1, induced a low level of cell-cell fusion that was enhanced by coexpression with a cell adhesion molecule, Sticks and stones (Sns), required for myoblast fusion in Drosophila. Sns-enhanced cell-cell fusion was mediated by dynamic actin polymerization that generated invasive membrane protrusions at sites of fusion.