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The mechanism of reversible electric breakdown of lipid membranes is studied. The following stages of the process of pore development are substantiated. Hydrophobic pores are formed in the lipid bilayer by spontaneous fluctuations. If these water-filled defects extend to a radius of 0.3 to 0.5 nm, a hydrophilic pore is formed by reorientation of the lipid(More)
Disparate biological processes involve fusion of two membranes into one and fission of one membrane into two. To formulate the possible job description for the proteins that mediate remodeling of biological membranes, we analyze the energy price of disruption and bending of membrane lipid bilayers at the different stages of bilayer fusion. The phenomenology(More)
The mechanism of bilayer unification in biological fusion is unclear. We reversibly arrested hemagglutinin (HA)-mediated cell-cell fusion right before fusion pore opening. A low-pH conformation of HA was required to form this intermediate and to ensure fusion beyond it. We present evidence indicating that outer monolayers of the fusing membranes were merged(More)
Although membrane fusion mediated by influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) is the best characterized example of ubiquitous protein-mediated fusion, it is still not known how the low-pH-induced refolding of HA trimers causes fusion. This refolding involves 1) repositioning of the hydrophobic N-terminal sequence of the HA2 subunit of HA ("fusion peptide"), and(More)
Cellular uptake of a family of cationic cell-penetrating peptides (examples include Tat peptides and penetratin) have been ascribed in the literature to a mechanism that does not involve endocytosis. In this work we reevaluate the mechanisms of cellular uptake of Tat 48-60 and (Arg)(9). We demonstrate here that cell fixation, even in mild conditions, leads(More)
Membrane fusion in exocytosis, intracellular trafficking, and enveloped viral infection is thought to be mediated by specialized proteins acting to merge membrane lipid bilayers. We now show that one class of naturally-occurring phospholipids, lysolipids, inhibits fusion between cell membranes, organelles, and between organelles and plasma membrane.(More)
Electric fields promote pore formation in both biological and model membranes. We clamped unmodified planar bilayers at 150-550 mV to monitor transient single pores for a long period of time. We observed fast transitions between different conductance levels reflecting opening and closing of metastable lipid pores. Although mean lifetime of the pores was 3(More)