Gordon Research Conferences
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Conference Program
 
Cell-Cell Fusion
From Natural History to Molecular Physics and Medical Applications
July 19-24, 2009
Colby-Sawyer College
New London, NH

How and why do certain cells fuse their plasma membranes to form hybrid, multinucleated, or even giant cells? Cell-cell fusion occurs only under special circumstances during the life cycle of any organism. Yet cell fusion is seen in virtually all phyla of eukaryotes. In humans, cell fusions are critical to formation of the new embryo, placenta, muscle and bone, eye, and immune cells. However, we have little understanding of the mechanisms that allow such cells to undergo this profound developmental and cell-biological change, a transition that instantly alters their form, function, and fate.

The Cell-Cell Fusion GRC is a forum where multiple disciplines converge to attack this common problem from their various points of expertise: model biological systems where cell fusion occurs and models of the interactions of lipids and proteins that can lead to membrane bilayer merger. One major goal is to find where these systems share common features - molecules and higher-order structures - and where systems truly diverge, invoking unique approaches to the same ultimate task. Another is to comprehend the functional impact of fusion on the syncytial or hybrid cells that are formed: how polyploid, multinucleate or giant cells benefit survival of the organism. The ultimate goal is to find applications where the control of cell fusion will benefit human health, through controlled fertility, better healing, enhanced immunity, augmented food production, or other means.

2009 Cell-Cell Fusion GRC SlideShow

The 2009 conference featured advances in understanding of the diverse biological systems that were presented at the inaugural meeting in 2007, including model organisms where molecular details at the heart of the mechanism have begun to emerge. This meeting also covered additional species and cell types, other newly found modes of plasma membrane fusion, and more of the physics behind the influence of proteins and lipids on the shape of membranes - and the influence of membrane shape upon fusion. Finally, we learned of novel interventions in medicine where artificial cell fusion may enable treatment of devastating diseases.


Contributors

SUNDAY
2:00 pm - 9:00 pmArrival and Check-in (Office Closed 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
6:00 pm - 7:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 7:40 pmWelcome / Introductory Comments by GRC Site Staff
7:40 pm - 9:30 pmKeynote Session: Proteins' Influence Over Membrane Shape
Discussion Leader: William A. Mohler (University of Connecticut Health Center)
7:40 pm - 8:00 pm William A. Mohler (University of Connecticut Health Center)
"Introduction: Cell-Cell Fusion, from Natural History to Molecular Physics and Medical Applications"
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm Harvey T. McMahon (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology)
"Protein-Induced Stress and Strain Within Lipid Bilayers - A Route to Membrane Fusion"
9:00 pm - 9:30 pm Discussion
MONDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmCellular Fusogens: Viral, Developmental, and Trafficking Fusion Proteins
Discussion Leader: Benjamin Podbilewicz (Technion, Israel Institute of Technology)
9:00 am - 9:10 am Benjamin Podbilewicz (Technion, Israel Institute of Technology)
"Introduction"
9:10 am - 9:35 am Judith M. White (University of Virginia)
"Diversity among viral membrane fusion proteins"
9:35 am - 9:45 am Discussion
9:45 am - 10:10 am Joshua Zimmerberg (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
"Fusion mechanisms in infection and secretion"
10:10 am - 10:20 am Discussion
10:20 am Coffee Break / Group Photo
10:50 am - 11:05 am Yorgo Modis (Yale University)
"Crystal structure of dengue virus type 1 envelope protein in the postfusion conformation and its implications for membrane fusion"
11:05 am - 11:10 am Discussion
11:10 am - 11:35 am Amir Sapir (California Institute of Technology)
"The FF proteins in developmental cell fusion"
11:35 am - 11:45 am Discussion
11:45 am - 12:00 pm Bolette Bjerregaard (Copenhagen University)
"Syncytin - a common fusogen"
12:00 pm - 12:05 pm Discussion
12:05 pm - 12:20 pm Andre Levchenko (Johns Hopkins University)
"Generality of intercellular transfer of membrane and cytosolic components"
12:20 pm - 12:25 pm Discussion
12:25 pm - 12:30 pm Summary Discussion for morning session
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
On Display: Last names A through K; Presenters: A through C.
6:00 pm - 7:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmFertilization and Gamete Fusion
Discussion Leader: Laurinda A. Jaffe (University of Connecticut Health Center)
7:30 pm - 7:40 pm Laurinda A. Jaffe (University of Connecticut Health Center)
"Introduction"
7:40 pm - 8:05 pm Andrew W. Singson (Rutgers University)
"Fertilization in nematodes"
8:05 pm - 8:15 pm Discussion
8:15 pm - 8:40 pm Kenji Miyado (National Center for Child Health and Development, Japan)
"CD9 action in the egg and on the sperm of mice"
8:40 pm - 8:50 pm Discussion
8:50 pm - 9:15 pm Laurinda A. Jaffe (University of Connecticut Health Center)
"Regulation of sperm-egg fusion by membrane potential: possible role of a voltage-sensitive phosphatidylinositol phosphatase in sperm"
9:15 pm - 9:25 pm Discussion
9:25 pm - 9:30 pm Summary Discussion for evening session
TUESDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmMyoblast and Mesenchymal Cell Fusion
Discussion Leader: Elizabeth H. Chen (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
9:00 am - 9:10 am Elizabeth H. Chen (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
"Introduction"
9:10 am - 9:35 am Charles A. Ettensohn (Carnegie Mellon University)
"The dynamics and regulation of mesenchymal cell fusion in the sea urchin embryo"
9:35 am - 9:45 am Discussion
9:45 am - 10:10 am Grace K. Pavlath (Emory University School of Medicine)
"Regulation of cell fusions in mammalian myogenesis"
10:10 am - 10:20 am Discussion
10:20 am Coffee Break
10:50 am - 11:15 am Renate Renkawitz-Pohl (Philipps-Universitat / FB Biologie)
"FuRMAS: a signaling center triggering myoblast fusion in Drosophila myogenesis"
11:15 am - 11:25 am Discussion
11:25 am - 11:40 am Carmen E. Birchmeier (Max Delbrück Centrum)
"The small G-proteins Rac1 and Cdc42 are essential for myoblast fusion in the mouse"
11:40 am - 11:45 am Discussion
11:45 am - 12:00 pm Eyal Schejter (Weizmann Institute of Science)
"WASp is required for myoblast fusion during formation of adult Drosophila muscles"
12:00 pm - 12:05 pm Discussion
12:05 pm - 12:20 pm Anne-Sofie Hobolt Pederson (Vejle Hospital / University of Southern Denmark)
"The molecular mechanism behind osteoclast-myeloma cell fusion; Syncytin 1 is involved in the fusion of human osteoclasts"
12:20 pm - 12:25 pm Discussion
12:25 pm - 12:30 pm Summary Discussion for morning session
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
On Display: Last names A through K; Presenters: D through K.
6:00 pm - 7:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmFusion within Epithelia
Discussion Leader: William A. Mohler (University of Connecticut Health Center)
7:30 pm - 7:40 pm William A. Mohler (University of Connecticut Health Center)
"Introduction"
7:40 pm - 8:05 pm Steven Bassnett (Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine)
"Looking through a glass onion - cell fusion in the vertebrate lens"
8:05 pm - 8:15 pm Discussion
8:15 pm - 8:40 pm Michael J. Galko (University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center)
"Wound-induced epidermal cell-cell fusion in Drosophila"
8:40 pm - 8:50 pm Discussion
8:50 pm - 9:15 pm Neal S. Rote (MacDonald Women's Hospital, University Hospitals of Cleveland)
"Cell-to-cell fusion in the human placenta"
9:15 pm - 9:25 pm Discussion
9:25 pm - 9:30 pm Summary Discussion for evening session
WEDNESDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmModels of the Physicochemical Pathway to Membrane Fusion
Discussion Leader: Leonid V. Chernomordik (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
9:00 am - 9:10 am Leonid V. Chernomordik (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
"Introduction"
9:10 am - 9:35 am Michael M. Kozlov (Tel Aviv University School of Medicine)
"Forces in membrane bending and fusion"
9:35 am - 9:45 am Discussion
9:45 am - 10:00 am Marino Arroyo (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya)
"Relaxation dynamics of fluid membranes"
10:00 am - 10:05 am Discussion
10:05 am - 10:20 am Yeon-Kyun Shin (Iowa State University)
"Cholesterol and synaptotagmin I in SNARE-dependent membrane fusion: beyond the concept of the spontaneous curvature"
10:20 am - 10:25 am Discussion
10:25 am Coffee Break
10:55 am - 11:20 am Michael Schick (University of Washington)
"Fusion and Lysis: two outcomes, one mechanism"
11:20 am - 11:30 am Discussion
11:30 am - 11:55 am Huey W. Huang (Rice University)
"X-ray diffraction and GUV studies of bilayer-fusion intermediates"
11:55 am - 12:05 pm Discussion
12:05 pm - 12:20 pm Monika Bajorek (University of Utah)
"Structural basis for ESCRT-III protein autoinhibition"
12:20 pm - 12:25 pm Discussion
12:25 pm - 12:30 pm Summary Discussion for morning session
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
On Display: Last names L through Z; Presenters: L through R.
6:00 pm - 7:00 pmDinner
7:00 pm - 7:30 pmBusiness Meeting, Part I: Planning a Gordon Research Seminar in 2011
(Nominations of Chairs; Discussion of topics for a GRS program)
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmMonocytic Cells: Homotypic/Heterotypic Fusion and Nanotubular Communication
Discussion Leader: Agnès Vignery (Yale University School of Medicine)
7:30 pm - 7:40 pm Agnès Vignery (Yale University School of Medicine)
"Introduction"
7:40 pm - 8:05 pm Markus Grompe (Oregon Health Science University)
"Ploidy reduction in fusion derived cells"
8:05 pm - 8:15 pm Discussion
8:15 pm - 8:40 pm Simon C. Watkins (University of Pittsburgh)
"Dendritic cell networks via nanotubular communication"
8:40 pm - 8:50 pm Discussion
8:50 pm - 9:15 pm Agnès Vignery (Yale University School of Medicine)
"Fusion of macrophages"
9:15 pm - 9:25 pm Discussion
9:25 pm - 9:30 pm Summary Discussion for evening session
THURSDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 11:45 amThrough the Wall: Fusion in Fungal and Plant Species
Discussion Leader: Eric Grote (Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health)
9:00 am - 9:10 am Eric Grote (Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health)
"Introduction"
9:10 am - 9:35 am Aska Goverse (Wageningen University)
"Pathological synctia induced by root cyst nematodes"
9:35 am - 9:45 am Discussion
9:45 am - 10:10 am Tarek A. Hewezi (Iowa State University)
"Mechanisms of cyst nematode-induced feeding site formation in plant roots"
10:10 am - 10:20 am Discussion
10:20 am Coffee Break
10:50 am - 11:15 am Mark D. Rose (Princeton University)
"Fusion and karyogamy in yeast"
11:15 am - 11:25 am Discussion
11:25 am - 11:40 am William J. Snell (Univerisity of Texas Southwestern)
"Two blocks to polyspermy: Gamete fusion in Chlamydomonas activates rapid loss of two proteins essential for the membrane fusion reaction"
11:40 am - 11:45 am Discussion
11:45 am - 12:30 pmMinisession: Fertilization, "Back to where we all began..."
11:45 am - 12:00 pm Hitoshi Nishimura (Emory University)
"A male germline-specific, immunoglobulin-like gene is required for C. elegans fertilization"
12:00 pm - 12:05 pm Discussion
12:05 pm - 12:20 pm Luis Mayorga (Universidad Nacional de Cuyo)
"Changes in acrosomal membrane topology during exocytosis in human sperm"
12:20 pm - 12:25 pm Discussion
12:25 pm - 12:30 pm Summary Discussion for morning session
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session
On Display: Last names L through Z; Presenters: S through Z.
6:00 pm - 7:00 pmDinner
7:00 pm - 7:30 pmBusiness Meeting, Part II: Planning for the 2011 Cell-Cell Fusion GRC
(Nominations for the next Vice Chair; Fill out Conference Evaluation Forms; Discuss future Site & Scheduling preferences; Election of the next Vice Chair)
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmApplications of Induced Cell Fusion in Medicine and Biotechnology
Discussion Leader: Benjamin Podbilewicz (Technion, Israel Institute of Technology)
7:30 pm - 7:40 pm Benjamin Podbilewicz (Technion, Israel Institute of Technology)
"Introduction"
7:40 pm - 8:05 pm José Alexandre Barbuto (University of São Paulo)
"Dendritic-tumor cell fusion vaccines: clinical and immunological effects on patients with advanced cancer"
8:05 pm - 8:15 pm Discussion
8:15 pm - 8:40 pm Roy Duncan (Dalhousie University)
"FAST proteins in cell-cell fusion"
8:40 pm - 8:50 pm Discussion
8:50 pm - 9:05 pm Oscar Ces (Imperial College London)
"Smart Droplet Microtools: a novel platform for spatially selective single cell analysis"
9:05 pm - 9:10 pm Discussion
9:10 pm - 9:15 pm Summary Discussion for evening session
9:15 pm - 9:30 pm Discussion of entire GRC and Chairs' Farewell
FRIDAY
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 amDepart

Funding for this conference was made possible (in part) by Grant 1 R13 HD061041-01 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) & National Institute Of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention by trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

 
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