Navigation Links
Biologists prove critical step in membrane fusion

Cells constantly swap cargo bound in vesicles, miniscule membrane-enclosed packages of proteins and other chemicals. Before the swap can take place, the vesicle membrane must fuse with another membrane, creating channels packages can pass through.

This process, known as membrane fusion, is fundamental to health and disease. It occurs at fertilization and is particularly critical to keep hormones circulating and brain cells firing. Membrane fusion is also how HIV and other viruses infect cells.

But membrane fusion occurs in less than a millisecond, making it difficult to see precisely how it unfolds. Now Brown University biologist Gary Wessel and his laboratory team have seen and recorded a critical step in the process in a live cell.

Researchers in the Wessel lab are experts in fertilization; they used sea urchin eggs to study membrane fusion. In urchin eggs, thousands of membrane-bound vesicles are attached to the plasma membrane. Within seconds after fertilization, the contents of these vesicles are rapidly released. Previous research has shown that special proteins kept these vesicles tethered to the egg’s membrane. What about the membranes? What do they look like before vesicle cargo is released?

Wessel and his collaborators discovered that the membranes of the egg and the vesicles are hemifused ?a state where the membranes are shared but the contents remain separate. Using fluorescent dyes and a high-resolution microscope, the researchers show that hemifusion is surprisingly stable in live cells.

"The novelty of these results is that a live cell can maintain a hemifused state for hours, days, even months," said Julian Wong, a postdoctoral research associate in the Wessel lab and the first author of the journal article in Developmental Cell. "When using the right cell ?the sea urchin egg ?the phenomenon is observable."

"What we’ve found here with membrane fusion is that everything is set and ready for it t o occur, to the point of sharing membranes," Wessel said. "So all that is needed is a puff of calcium from within the cell and fusion is complete. The process is quick because of hemifusion ?the vesicles are right there and ready to go."

Wong and Wessel said that their findings might help scientists find new ways to deliver drugs to cells. If membrane-bound drugs can be induced to hemifuse with target cells ?rather than fully fuse ?there is the potential to control the timing of drug delivery.
'"/>

Source:Brown University


Related biology news :

1. Biologists discover why 10% of Europeans are safe from HIV
2. Biologists determine genetic blueprint of social amoeba
3. Biologists Crack Genetic Code for Specialized Spider Silk
4. Biologists discover new pathway into plant cells
5. Biologists visualize protein interaction that may initiate viral infection
6. Biologists develop genome-wide map of miRNA-mRNA interactions
7. How healthy is that marsh? Biologists count parasites
8. Biologists find regions of rice domestication
9. Biologists probe the machinery of cellular protein factories
10. Biologists call for better choice of model organisms in evo-devo
11. Biologists produce global map of plant biodiversity

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/23/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global ... 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Vehicle Anti-Theft System Market is ... next decade to reach approximately $14.21 billion by 2025. ... all the given segments on global as well as regional levels ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela ... The Chancellor came to the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime ... partner country. At the largest German biometrics company the two government leaders ... iris recognition as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   ... ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... , Australia , March 9, ... study data at the prestigious World Lung Imaging Workshop ... Andreas Fouras , was invited to deliver the ... pulmonary medicine. This globally recognised event brings together leaders ... share the latest developments in lung imaging. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017  Northwest Biotherapeutics (OTCQB: ... personalized immune therapies for solid tumor cancers, today ... million financing it announced last Friday, March 17, ... several institutional investors securities totaling 28,843,692 shares, comprised ... and 10,000,000 shares of Class C Warrants pre-funded ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 2017 Kineta, Inc., a biotechnology company ... in immuno-oncology, today announced the discovery and characterization ... that activate interferon response factor 3 (IRF3) via ... tumor regression in a murine colon carcinoma mouse ... complete tumor regression to initial drug treatment were ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... New Orleans, La. (PRWEB) , ... March 23, ... ... of real-time, industrial monitoring solutions, today announced the hire of Dr. Sigmund “Sig” ... for APMT customer applications, strategic partnerships and joint development activities. , “Dr. Floyd’s ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... Good Start Genetics, a leading family genomics ... million covered lives mark through its most recent payor ... . With newly signed contracts nationally and others ... payor acceptance based on the quality of its science, ... its industry-leading customer care and support and its published ...
Breaking Biology Technology: