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:3/22/2016)... PUNE, India , March 22, 2016 ... new market research report "Electronic Sensors Market for ... Fingerprint, Proximity, & Others), Application (Communication & ... and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", ... consumer industry is expected to reach USD ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... recognition with passcodes for superior security   ... a leading provider of secure digital communications services, today ... biometric technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly those in ... facial recognition and voice authentication within a mobile app, ...
(Date:3/17/2016)... -- ABI Research, the leader in transformative technology ... will reach more than $30 billion by 2021, ... electronics, particularly smartphones, continue to boost the biometrics ... two billion shipments by 2021 at a 40% ... Analyst at ABI Research. "Surveillance is also gearing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... of cannabis testing technology at the Spring 2016 Marijuana Business Conference and Expo. ... pesticides, residual solvents, heavy metals, and more. Expo attendees can stop by booth ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Most consumers engage ... fingerprint recognition for secure access, voice recognition for hands-free communication, and facial recognition ... interacting with biometrics technology today. But if they asked Joey Pritikin, Vice ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... and RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. ... (NASDAQ: UTHR ) announced today that ... of United Therapeutics will provide an overview and update ... st Annual Health Care Conference. The ... at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, and can be accessed ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... NDA Partners Chairman Carl Peck, MD ... Consultant. Mr. Clark was formerly a Vice President with US Pharmacopeia, where ... monographs based on analytical methods. NDA Partners Expert Consultants are top tier ...
Breaking Biology Technology: