Ferlin proteins in myoblast fusion and muscle growth

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41 Scopus citations


Myoblast fusion contributes to muscle growth in development and during regeneration of mature muscle. Myoblasts fuse to each other as well as to multinucleate myotubes to enlarge the myofiber. The molecular mechanisms of myoblast fusion are incompletely understood. Adhesion, apposition, and membrane fusion are accompanied by cytoskeletal rearrangements. The ferlin family of proteins is implicated in human muscle disease and has been implicated in fusion events in muscle, including myoblast fusion, vesicle trafficking and membrane repair. Dysferlin was the first mammalian ferlin identified and it is now known that there are six different ferlins. Loss-of-function mutations in the dysferlin gene lead to limb girdle muscular dystrophy and the milder disorder Miyoshi Myopathy. Dysferlin is a membrane-associated protein that has been implicated in resealing disruptions in the muscle plasma membrane. Newer data supports a broader role for dysferlin in intracellular vesicular movement, a process also important for resealing. Myoferlin is highly expressed in myoblasts that undergoing fusion, and the absence of myoferlin leads to impaired myoblast fusion. Myoferlin also regulates intracellular trafficking events, including endocytic recycling, a process where internalized vesicles are returned to the plasma membrane. The trafficking role of ferlin proteins is reviewed herein with a specific focus as to how this machinery alters myogenesis and muscle growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-230
Number of pages28
JournalCurrent Topics in Developmental Biology
StatePublished - 2011


  • Ferlin proteins
  • Membrane fusion
  • Muscle
  • Myoblast
  • Myogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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