Myoblast fusion confusion: the resolution begins

Skelet Muscle. 2018 Jan 31;8(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s13395-017-0149-3.


The fusion of muscle precursor cells is a required event for proper skeletal muscle development and regeneration. Numerous proteins have been implicated to function in myoblast fusion; however, the majority are expressed in diverse tissues and regulate numerous cellular processes. How myoblast fusion is triggered and coordinated in a muscle-specific manner has remained a mystery for decades. Through the discovery of two muscle-specific fusion proteins, Myomaker and Myomerger-Minion, we are now primed to make significant advances in our knowledge of myoblast fusion. This article reviews the latest findings regarding the biology of Myomaker and Minion-Myomerger, places these findings in the context of known pathways in mammalian myoblast fusion, and highlights areas that require further investigation. As our understanding of myoblast fusion matures so does our potential ability to manipulate cell fusion for therapeutic purposes.

Keywords: Minion; Muscle development; Myoblast fusion; Myomaker; Myomerger.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Fusion*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Mice
  • Muscle Development / physiology*
  • Muscle Proteins / genetics
  • Muscle Proteins / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Mutagenesis
  • Myoblasts / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • myomaker protein, mouse