Johns Hopkins study provides key insight into how cells fuse
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have established a high-efficiency cell-cell fusion system, providing a new model to study how fusion works. The scientists showed that fusion between two cells is not equal and mutual as some assumed, but, rather, is initiated and driven by one of the fusion partners. The discovery, they say, could lead to improved treatments for muscular dystrophy, since muscle regeneration relies on cell fusion to make muscle fibers that contain hundreds or even thousands of nuclei. View Article
The study, published online on Mar. 7 in Science, reveals two critical components that have to be present for cell fusion to happen, explains Elizabeth Chen, Ph.D., an associate professor of molecular biology and genetics at the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. Intriguingly, she says, one of these vital components changes the structure of one cell’s scaffolding — its cytoskeleton — to form protrusions that push their way into the other cell to initiate fusion.