Mechanics of membrane fusion

Leonid V. Chernomordik, Michael M. Kozlov

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Diverse membrane fusion reactions in biology involve close contact between two lipid bilayers, followed by the local distortion of the individual bilayers and reformation into a single, merged membrane. We consider the structures and energies of the fusion intermediates identified in experimental and theoretical work on protein-free lipid bilayers. On the basis of this analysis, we then discuss the conserved fusion-through-hemifusion pathway of merger between biological membranes and propose that the entire progression, from the close juxtaposition of membrane bilayers to the expansion of a fusion pore, is controlled by protein-generated membrane stresses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-683
Number of pages9
JournalNature Structural and Molecular Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008


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