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J Membr Biol. 1976;30(3):283-300.

Ca++-induced fusion of fragmented sarcoplasmic reticulum with artificial planar bilayers.


Addition of fragmented sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) vesicles to the aqueous phase of a black lipid membrane (BLM) causes a large increase in BLM conductance within 10 min. The conductance increase is absolutely dependent on three conditions: The presence of at least 0.5 mM Ca++, an acidic phospholipid such as phosphatidylserine or diphosphatidylglycerol in the BLM phospholipid mixture, and an osmotic gradient across the SR vesicle membrane, with the internal osmolarity greater than the external. These requirements are identical to conditions under which the fusion of phospholipid vesicles occurs. When the early part of the time course of conductance rise is examined at high sensitivity, the conductance is seen to increase in discrete steps. The probability of a step increases with the concentration of Ca++ in the medium, with the fraction of acidic phospholipid in the BLM, and with the size of the osmotic gradient across the SR vesicle membrane. On the other hand, the average conductance change per step is independent of the above parameters, but varies with the type and concentration of ions present in the aqueous phase. For a given ion, the mean specific conductance per step is independent of the ion's concentration between 10 and 100 mM. The probability distribution of the step-conductances agrees well with the distribution of SR vesicle surface areas, both before and after sonication of the vesicles. The evidence indicates that SR vesicles fuse with the BLM, thereby inserting SR membrane conductance pathways into it. Each discrete conductance jump appears to be the result of the fusion of a single SR vesicle with the BLM. This technique may serve as a general method for inserting membrane vesicles into an electrically accessible system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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