Membrane asymmetry enhances nanotube formation and limits pore resealing after electroporation

Published:August 03, 2022DOI:
      Research in cell membranes provides a fascinating intersection of the natural world, bioengineering, and fundamental physics. Model membranes form by the self-assembly of amphiphilic phospholipids into two-molecule-thick fluid sheets spanning up to tens of microns. Increasingly, model membranes include leaflet asymmetry, lipid phase separation, and spontaneous curvature to enable examination of the interplay of diverse physical characteristics that potentially govern complex natural behaviors. For example, lipid phase separation and leaflet asymmetry both encourage the formation of membrane curvature, but the degree to which living cells exploit these relationships is unknown.
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      Linked Article

      • GM1 asymmetry in the membrane stabilizes pores
          Aleksanyan et al.
        Biophysical JournalJune 5, 2022
        • In Brief
          Cell membranes are highly asymmetric and their stability against poration is crucial for survival. We investigated the influence of membrane asymmetry on electroporation of giant unilamellar vesicles with membranes doped with GM1, a ganglioside asymmetrically enriched in the outer leaflet of neuronal cell membranes. Compared with symmetric membranes, the lifetimes of micronsized pores are about an order of magnitude longer suggesting that pores are stabilized by GM1. Internal membrane nanotubes caused by the GM1 asymmetry, obstruct and additionally slow down pore closure, effectively reducing pore edge tension and leading to leaky membranes.
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