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Nat Protoc. 2012 Apr 19;7(5):903-20. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2012.019.

Fusion of single proteoliposomes with planar, cushioned bilayers in microfluidic flow cells.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. erdem.karatekin@yale.edu

Abstract

Many biological processes rely on membrane fusion, and therefore assays to study its mechanisms are necessary. Here we report an assay with sensitivity to single-vesicle, and even to single-molecule events using fluorescently labeled vesicle-associated v-SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor) liposomes and target-membrane-associated t-SNARE-reconstituted planar, supported bilayers (t-SBLs). Docking and fusion events can be detected using conventional far-field epifluorescence or total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy. In this assay, fusion is dependent on SNAP-25, one of the t-SNARE subunits that is required for fusion in vivo. The success of the assay is due to the use of: (i) bilayers covered with a thin layer of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) to control bilayer-bilayer and bilayer-substrate interactions, and (ii) microfluidic flow channels that present many advantages, such as the removal of nonspecifically bound liposomes by flow. The protocol takes 6-8 d to complete. Analysis can take up to 2 weeks.

PMID:
22517259
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3747733
Free PMC Article
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