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  • Real-time intermembrane force measurements and imaging of lipid domain morphology during hemifusion.

Real-time intermembrane force measurements and imaging of lipid domain morphology during hemifusion.

Nature communications (2015-05-27)
Dong Woog Lee, Kai Kristiansen, Stephen H Donaldson, Nicholas Cadirov, Xavier Banquy, Jacob N Israelachvili
ABSTRACT

Membrane fusion is the core process in membrane trafficking and is essential for cellular transport of proteins and other biomacromolecules. During protein-mediated membrane fusion, membrane proteins are often excluded from the membrane-membrane contact, indicating that local structural transformations in lipid domains play a major role. However, the rearrangements of lipid domains during fusion have not been thoroughly examined. Here using a newly developed Fluorescence Surface Forces Apparatus (FL-SFA), migration of liquid-disordered clusters and depletion of liquid-ordered domains at the membrane-membrane contact are imaged in real time during hemifusion of model lipid membranes, together with simultaneous force-distance and lipid membrane thickness measurements. The load and contact time-dependent hemifusion results show that the domain rearrangements decrease the energy barrier to fusion, illustrating the significance of dynamic domain transformations in membrane fusion processes. Importantly, the FL-SFA can unambiguously correlate interaction forces and in situ imaging in many dynamic interfacial systems.

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