Viral membrane fusion and the transmembrane domain

Chelsea T. Barrett, Rebecca Ellis Dutch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Abstract: Initiation of host cell infection by an enveloped virus requires a viral-to-host cell membrane fusion event. This event is mediated by at least one viral transmembrane glycoprotein, termed the fusion protein, which is a key therapeutic target. Viral fusion proteins have been studied for decades, and numerous critical insights into their function have been elucidated. However, the transmembrane region remains one of the most poorly understood facets of these proteins. In the past ten years, the field has made significant advances in understanding the role of the membrane-spanning region of viral fusion proteins. We summarize developments made in the past decade that have contributed to the understanding of the transmembrane region of viral fusion proteins, highlighting not only their critical role in the membrane fusion process, but further demonstrating their involvement in several aspects of the viral lifecycle.

Original languageEnglish
Article number693
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was funded by the NIAID grant R01AI051517 and NIH 2P20 RR02017 awarded to RED. We would like to thank the Viruses editorial board for the opportunity to write this review and the Dutch laboratory for input on this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors.


  • Transmembrane domain
  • Viral fusion protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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