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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cytosolic ATPases, p97 and NSF, are sufficient to mediate rapid membrane fusion.

Much recent work has focussed on the role of membrane-bound components in fusion. We show here that p97 and NSF are sufficient to mediate rapid membrane fusion. Fractionation of cytosol revealed that p97 and its co-factor, p47, constitutes the major fusion activity. This was confirmed by depleting p97 from the cytosol, which resulted in an 80% decrease in fusion. Using purified protein, p97 or NSF was found to be sufficient to mediate rapid fusion in an ATP-dependent manner. A regulatory role was observed for their corresponding co-factors, p47 and alpha-SNAP. When present at a molar ratio half of that of the ATPase, both co-factors increased fusion activity significantly. Intriguingly, at this ratio the ATPase activity of the complex measured in solution was at its lowest, suggesting that the co-factor stabilizes the ATP state. The fusion event involved mixing of both leaflets of the opposing membranes and contents of liposomes. We conclude from these data that p97, NSF and perhaps other related ATPases catalyse rapid and complete fusion between lipid bilayers on opposing membranes. This highlights a new role for p97 and NSF and prompts a re-evaluation of current fusion models.[1]


  1. Cytosolic ATPases, p97 and NSF, are sufficient to mediate rapid membrane fusion. Otter-Nilsson, M., Hendriks, R., Pecheur-Huet, E.I., Hoekstra, D., Nilsson, T. EMBO J. (1999) [Pubmed]
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