Probing synaptic vesicle fusion by altering mechanical properties of the neuronal surface membrane

Yongling Zhu, Charles F. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Because synaptic vesicle exocytosis is a nano-mechanical process, it should be influenced by the mechanical properties of the cell membrane to which the vesicle fuses. By dissolving surfactants at various concentrations in the neuronal membrane, we have perturbed mechanical properties of the membrane and have found that dissolved surfactants lower the probability that a synaptic vesicle will open its fusion pore when the fusion machinery of the vesicle is activated by binding calcium. By using standard theories from the physics and chemistry of surfaces, we can account for this decrease in fusion probability and can infer that a vesicle, when activated, opens its fusion pore ≈3 times out of 4 and that the area of the fusion pore is ≈4 nm2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18018-18022
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume105
Issue number46
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 18 2008

Keywords

  • Exocytosis
  • FM dye
  • Fusion pore
  • Synapse
  • pHluorin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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