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Journal Article

Free energy landscape of rim-pore expansion in membrane fusion.

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Risselada,  H. J.
Department of Theoretical and Computational Biophysics, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Grubmüller,  H.
Department of Theoretical and Computational Biophysics, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Risselada, H. J., Smirnova, Y., & Grubmüller, H. (2014). Free energy landscape of rim-pore expansion in membrane fusion. Biophysical Journal, 107(10), 2287-2295. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2014.08.022.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-4361-4
Abstract
The productive fusion pore in membrane fusion is generally thought to be toroidally shaped. Theoretical studies and recent experiments suggest that its formation, in some scenarios, may be preceded by an initial pore formed near the rim of the extended hemifusion diaphragm (HD), a rim-pore. This rim-pore is characterized by a nontoroidal shape that changes with size. To determine this shape as well as the free energy along the pathway of rim-pore expansion, we derived a simple analytical free energy model. We argue that dilation of HD material via expansion of a rim-pore is favored over a regular, circular pore. Further, the expanding rim-pore faces a free energy barrier that linearly increases with HD size. In contrast, the tension required to expand the rim-pore decreases with HD size. Pore flickering, followed by sudden opening, occurs when the tension in the HD competes with the line energy of the rim-pore, and the rim-pore reaches its equilibrium size before reaching the critical pore size. The experimental observation of flickering and closing fusion pores (kiss-and-run) is very well explained by the observed behavior of rim-pores. Finally, the free energy landscape of rim-pore expansion/HD dilation may very well explain why some cellular fusion reactions, in their attempt to minimize energetic costs, progress via alternative formation and dilation of microscopic hemifusion intermediates.