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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(5), 1358;

Phosphatidylcholine Membrane Fusion Is pH-Dependent

Laboratory of Bioelectrochemistry, A.N. Frumkin Institute of Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, 31/4 Leninskiy Prospekt, 119071 Moscow, Russia
Department of Theoretical Physics and Quantum Technologies, National University of Science and Technology “MISiS”, 4 Leninskiy Prospekt, 119049 Moscow, Russia
Department of Engineering of Technological Equipment, National University of Science and Technology “MISiS”, 4 Leninskiy Prospekt, 119049 Moscow, Russia
Laboratory of Electrophysiology, Federal Clinical Center of Physical-Chemical Medicine of FMBA, 1a Malaya Pirogovskaya Street, 119435 Moscow, Russia
Department of Physics of Living Systems, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (State University), 9 Institutskiy Lane, 141700 Dolgoprudniy Moscow Region, Russia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 April 2018 / Revised: 26 April 2018 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 / Published: 3 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Fusion)
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Membrane fusion mediates multiple vital processes in cell life. Specialized proteins mediate the fusion process, and a substantial part of their energy is used for topological rearrangement of the membrane lipid matrix. Therefore, the elastic parameters of lipid bilayers are of crucial importance for fusion processes and for determination of the energy barriers that have to be crossed for the process to take place. In the case of fusion of enveloped viruses (e.g., influenza) with endosomal membrane, the interacting membranes are in an acidic environment, which can affect the membrane’s mechanical properties. This factor is often neglected in the analysis of virus-induced membrane fusion. In the present work, we demonstrate that even for membranes composed of zwitterionic lipids, changes of the environmental pH in the physiologically relevant range of 4.0 to 7.5 can affect the rate of the membrane fusion notably. Using a continual model, we demonstrated that the key factor defining the height of the energy barrier is the spontaneous curvature of the lipid monolayer. Changes of this parameter are likely to be caused by rearrangements of the polar part of lipid molecules in response to changes of the pH of the aqueous solution bathing the membrane. View Full-Text
Keywords: membrane fusion; enveloped virus; influenza; stalk; theory of elasticity; pH dependence membrane fusion; enveloped virus; influenza; stalk; theory of elasticity; pH dependence

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Akimov, S.A.; Polynkin, M.A.; Jiménez-Munguía, I.; Pavlov, K.V.; Batishchev, O.V. Phosphatidylcholine Membrane Fusion Is pH-Dependent. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 1358.

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