Fusion pore conductance: experimental approaches and theoretical algorithms. Academic Article uri icon


  • Time-resolved admittance measurements provide the basis for studies showing that membrane fusion occurs through the formation and widening of an initially small pore, linking two previously separated aqueous compartments. Here we introduce modifications to this method that correct the cell-pipette (source) admittance for attenuation and phase shifts produced by electrophysiological equipment. Two new approaches for setting the right phase angle are discussed. The first uses the displacement of a patch-clamp amplifier C-slow potentiometer for the calculation of phase. This calculation is based on amplitudes of observed and expected (theoretical) changes in the source admittance. The second approach automates the original phase adjustment, the validity of which we prove analytically for certain conditions. The multiple sine wave approach is modified to allow the calculation of target cell membrane parameters and the conductance of the fusion pore. We also show how this technique can be extended for measurements of the resting potential of the first (voltage-clamped) membrane. We introduce an algorithm for calculation of fusion pore conductance despite a concurrent change in the resistance of the clamped membrane. The sensitivity of the capacitance restoration algorithm to phase shift errors is analyzed, and experimental data are used to demonstrate the results of this analysis. Finally, we show how the phase offset can be corrected "off-line" by restoring the shape of the capacitance increment.

publication date

  • May 1998