Rapid fusion and syncytium formation of heterologous cells upon expression of the FGFRL1 receptor

Steinberg, Florian; Gerber, Simon D; Rieckmann, Thorsten; Trueb, Beat (2010). Rapid fusion and syncytium formation of heterologous cells upon expression of the FGFRL1 receptor. Journal of biological chemistry, 285(48), pp. 37704-15. Bethesda, Md.: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 10.1074/jbc.M110.140517

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The fusion of mammalian cells into syncytia is a developmental process that is tightly restricted to a limited subset of cells. Besides gamete and placental trophoblast fusion, only macrophages and myogenic stem cells fuse into multinucleated syncytia. In contrast to viral cell fusion, which is mediated by fusogenic glycoproteins that actively merge membranes, mammalian cell fusion is poorly understood at the molecular level. A variety of mammalian transmembrane proteins, among them many of the immunoglobulin superfamily, have been implicated in cell-cell fusion, but none has been shown to actively fuse cells in vitro. Here we report that the FGFRL1 receptor, which is up-regulated during the differentiation of myoblasts into myotubes, fuses cultured cells into large, multinucleated syncytia. We used luciferase and GFP-based reporter assays to confirm cytoplasmic mixing and to identify the fusion inducing domain of FGFRL1. These assays revealed that Ig-like domain III and the transmembrane domain are both necessary and sufficient to rapidly fuse CHO cells into multinucleated syncytia comprising several hundred nuclei. Moreover, FGFRL1 also fused HEK293 and HeLa cells with untransfected CHO cells. Our data show that FGFRL1 is the first mammalian protein that is capable of inducing syncytium formation of heterologous cells in vitro.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Dermatology, Urology, Rheumatology, Nephrology, Osteoporosis (DURN) > Clinic of Rheumatology, Clinical Immunology and Allergology

UniBE Contributor:

Steinberg, Florian; Gerber, Simon; Rieckmann, Thorsten and Trueb, Beat




American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:10

Last Modified:

04 May 2014 23:05

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https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/1657 (FactScience: 203509)

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