Membrane Fusion

 
 

Membrane fusion is the primary means by which large molecular payloads are transported into cells.  As such, membrane fusion provides the mechanism for the entry and infection by enveloped viruses such as influenza, Ebola, SARS, and HIV.  Not surprisingly, the steps driving membrane fusion are the targets by which these critically important processes are regulated, and thus a fundamental understanding of membrane fusion mechanisms will enable the design of novel anti-viral drugs.  When faced with the potential for rapidly emerging and highly virulent infections, such an understanding of fusion becomes of particular importance to both fundamental biology and national health.



Experimental study of fusion mechanisms is challenging because the transient events of fusion itself are preceded by slow activation steps.  To help solve this quandary, we employ molecular dynamics simulations to generate physically-based models for lipid reorganization in fusion and the protein-lipid interactions by which both cells and invading viruses control the fusion process.  Our lab also performs biophysical experiments on membrane fusion.  By combining computational and experimental approaches under one roof, we hope to construct detailed integrated models for membrane fusion mechanism.

 

Recent papers on fusion:

PLoS Comp. Biol.

    2013

                                 

                          

J. Am. Chem. Soc.

2011



PLoS Comp. Biol.

        2010


PLoS Comp. Biol.

               2007


    Bioinformatics

    2007



PNAS

2006