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:5/16/2016)... YORK , May 16, 2016   EyeLock ... solutions, today announced the opening of an IoT Center ... to strengthen and expand the development of embedded iris ... an unprecedented level of convenience and security with unmatched ... authenticate one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... UAE, May 9, 2016 Elevay ... comes to expanding freedom for high net worth professionals ... in today,s globally connected world, there is still no ... could ever duplicate sealing your deal with a firm ... passports by taking advantage of citizenship via investment programs ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 ... a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), ... a global partnership that will provide end customers ... mobile banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... innovation area for financial services, but it also plays a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the creation ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the ... a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the ... WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, possessing ... for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been achieved ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that ... living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at ... New York City . The teams, ... at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. ... curator of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ... clinical trials of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. ... multiple ascending dose studies designed to assess the ... subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... as a single dose (ranging from 45 to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... and technical consulting, provides a free webinar on Performing Quality Investigations: ... 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: