The role of fusion peptides in depth-dependent membrane organization and dynamics in promoting membrane fusion

Chem Phys Lipids. 2021 Jan;234:105025. doi: 10.1016/j.chemphyslip.2020.105025. Epub 2020 Dec 7.


Membrane fusion is an important event in the life of eukaryotes; occurs in several processes such as endocytosis, exocytosis, cellular trafficking, compartmentalization, import of nutrients and export of waste, vesiculation, inter cellular communication, and fertilization. The enveloped viruses as well utilize fusion between the viral envelope and host cell membrane for infection. The stretch of 20-25 amino acids located at the N-terminus of the fusion protein, known as fusion peptide, plays a decisive role in the fusion process. The stalk model of membrane fusion postulated a common route of bilayer transformation for stalk, transmembrane contact, and pore formation; and fusion peptide is believed to facilitate bilayer transformation to promote membrane fusion. The peptide-induced change in depth-dependent organization and dynamics could provide important information in understanding the role of fusion peptide in membrane fusion. In this review, we have discussed about three depth-dependent properties of the membrane such as rigidity, polarity and heterogeneity, and the impact of fusion peptide on these three membrane properties.

Keywords: Fusion peptide; Membrane dynamics; Membrane fusion; Membrane organization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Fusion*
  • Peptides / metabolism*


  • Peptides