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What drives membrane fusion in eukaryotes?
Trends in Biochemical Sciences
The fusion of biological membranes is the terminal step of all vesicular trafficking reactions in eukaryotic cells. Therefore, this fusion is fundamental for the transfer of proteins and lipids between different compartments, for exocytosis and for the structural integrity of organelles. In the past decade, many parts of the molecular machinery involved in fusion have been uncovered. Although the mechanisms responsible for mutual recognition and binding of membranes inside eukaryotes are becoming reasonably well known, there is considerable uncertainty as to what causes the actual merging of the lipid bilayer. Two classes of mechanisms have been proposed. Proximity models postulate that very close apposition of membranes suffices to induce fusion. By contrast, pore models propose that continuous proteinaceous pores between apposed membranes could be the basis for fusion.
Animals, Biological Transport, Endocytosis, Eukaryotic Cells/metabolism, Exocytosis, Intracellular Membranes/physiology, Lipid Bilayers/metabolism, Macromolecular Substances, Membrane Fusion, Membrane Proteins/physiology, Models, Biological, Protein Transport, SNARE Proteins, Vesicular Transport Proteins
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