Membrane fusion is a critical and ubiquitous process in biology typically mediated by fusogenic proteins. In the context of cell-cell fusion, merging and mixing plasma membranes requires overcoming not only the barrier presented by the bare membrane but also that of the crowded cell surface. In this talk, I will describe recent experiments exploring how cell surface complexity influences the energetics of fusion and the strategies that cells and pathogens have devised to drive cell-cell fusion. The picture emerging from this work is one of cell-cell fusion resulting from a molecular collaboration rather than the action of a single fusogen.
About Dr. Fletcher:
Dr. Dan Fletcher is the Chatterjee Professor of Bioengineering & Biophysics at UC Berkeley. He and his laboratory study membrane and cytoskeletal organization in the context of cell motility and signaling, with applications to immunology, virology, and cancer biology. His lab also develops mobile phone-based microscopes that are being used to detect infectious diseases in developing countries. Dr. Fletcher received a B.S. from Princeton University, a D.Phil. from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a Ph.D. from Stanford University as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. He is a Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator, Visiting Investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Virology, and Associate Director of the Blum Center for Developing Economies.