The fusogenic synapse at a glance

Ji Hoon Kim, Elizabeth Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Cell-cell fusion is a fundamental process underlying fertilization, development, regeneration and physiology of metazoans. It is a multi-step process involving cell recognition and adhesion, actin cytoskeletal rearrangements, fusogen engagement, lipid mixing and fusion pore formation, ultimately resulting in the integration of two fusion partners. Here, we focus on the asymmetric actin cytoskeletal rearrangements at the site of fusion, known as the fusogenic synapse, which was first discovered during myoblast fusion in Drosophila embryos and later also found in mammalian muscle and non-muscle cells. At the asymmetric fusogenic synapse, actin-propelled invasive membrane protrusions from an attacking fusion partner trigger actomyosin-based mechanosensory responses in the receiving cell. The interplay between the invasive and resisting forces generated by the two fusion partners puts the fusogenic synapse under high mechanical tension and brings the two cell membranes into close proximity, promoting the engagement of fusogens to initiate fusion pore formation. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and the accompanying poster, we highlight the molecular, cellular and biophysical events at the asymmetric fusogenic synapse using Drosophila myoblast fusion as a model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 16 2019


  • Actin cytoskeleton
  • Cell–cell fusion
  • Fusogenic synapse
  • Invasive protrusion
  • Mechanical force
  • Mechanosensory response
  • Myoblast fusion
  • Podosome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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