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Nat Cell Biol. 2001 May;3(5):E124-9.

Coping with the inevitable: how cells repair a torn surface membrane.

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Department of Cellular Biology and Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia 30912, USA.


Disruption of the cell plasma membrane is a commonplace occurrence in many mechanically challenging, biological environments. 'Resealing' is the emergency response required for cell survival. Resealing is triggered by Ca2+ entering through the disruption; this causes vesicles present in cytoplasm underlying the disruption site to fuse rapidly with one another (homotypically) and also with the adjacent plasma membrane (heterotypically/exocytotically). The large vesicular products of homotypic fusion are added as a reparative 'patch' across the disruption, when its resealing requires membrane replacement. The simultaneous activation of the local cytoskeleton supports these membrane fusion events. Resealing is clearly a complex and dynamic cell adaptation, and, as we emphasize here, may be an evolutionarily primitive one that arose shortly after the ancestral eukaryote lost its protective cell wall.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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