Cytoskeleton reorganization in influenza hemagglutinin-initiated syncytium formation

Jean Philippe Richard, Eugenia Leikina, Leonid V. Chernomordik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Little is known about the mechanisms of cell-cell fusion in development and diseases and, especially, about fusion stages downstream of an opening of nascent fusion pore(s). Earlier works on different cell-cell fusion reactions have indicated that cytoskeleton plays important role in syncytium formation. However, due to complexity of these reactions and multifaceted contributions of cytoskeleton in cell physiology, it has remained unclear whether cytoskeleton directly drives fusion pore expansion or affects preceding fusion stages. Here we explore cellular reorganization associated with fusion pore expansion in syncytium formation using relatively simple experimental system. Fusion between murine embryonic fibroblasts NIH3T3-based cells is initiated on demand by well-characterized fusogen influenza virus hemagglutinin. We uncouple early fusion stages dependent on protein fusogens from subsequent fusion pore expansion stage and establish that the transition from local fusion to syncytium requires metabolic activity of living cells. Effective syncytium formation for cells with disorganized actin and microtubule cytoskeleton argues against hypothesis that cytoskeleton drives fusion expansion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-457
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Influenza hemagglutinin
  • Membrane fusion
  • Syncytium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Cytoskeleton reorganization in influenza hemagglutinin-initiated syncytium formation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this