Role of the N-terminal peptides of viral envelope proteins in membrane fusion
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Membrane fusion is an important biological process that is observed in a wide variety of intra and intercellular events. In this review, work done in the last few years on the molecular mechanism of viral membrane fusion is highlighted, focusing in particular on the role of the fusion peptide and the modification of the lipid bilayer structure. While the Influenza hemagglutinin is currently the best understand fusion protein, there is still much to be learned about the key events in enveloped virus fusion reactions. This review compares our current understanding of the membrane fusion activity of Influenza and retrovirus viruses. We shall be concerned especially with the studies that lead to interpretations at the molecular level, so we shall concentrate on model membrane systems where the molecular components of the membrane and the environment are strictly controlled.
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