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Poster ID #241


Lipid composition plays an important role in fusion of vesicles to membranes, an essential process for exocytosis. Lipid head group, tail structure, and sterol content all impact the complex phase behavior of membranes. To determine the effect of lipids on fusion, we utilized the nystatin/ergesterol (nys/erg) fusion assay and stimulated fusion with a salt (osmotic) gradient. With this assay, vesicles containing nys and erg fuse with a planar membrane producing characteristic spike increases in membrane conductance.Using PE/PC (7:3) membranes, we varied cholesterol from 0-40 mol% and observed significant increases in fusion rates. In one series of experiments, membranes were formed with 0 mol% cholesterol, repainted with 20 mol%, then repainted with 0 mol%. The 20 mol% cholesterol membrane showed a marked increase in fusion rates over both pre- and post- controls. Likewise, increased fusion rates were observed in DPPC/cholesterol (9:1) membranes upon lowering temperature below the phase transition (Tt). These data are consistent with a liquid disordered lipid phase suppressing vesicle fusion, and shows how membrane fusion can be affected by lipid behavior.


The Annual Mary Lou Fulton Mentored Research Conference showcases some of the best student research from the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. The mentored learning program encourages undergraduate students to participate in hands-on and practical research under the direction of a faculty member. Students create these posters as an aide in presenting the results of their research to the public, faculty, and their peers.

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Family, Home, and Social Sciences



Decreasing Temperature Below Tt or Increasing Cholesterol Enhance Vesibcle-Bilayer Membrane Fusion