Patching plasma membrane disruptions with cytoplasmic membrane. Academic Article uri icon


  • Vesicle-vesicle fusion initiated in cell cytoplasm by high Ca(2+) can rapidly erect large membrane boundaries. These might be used as a 'patch' for resealing plasma membrane disruptions. Three central predictions of this 'patch' hypothesis are here established in sea urchin eggs. First, we show that surface markers for plasma membrane protein and lipid are initially absent over disruption sites after resealing is complete. Second, we demonstrate that resealing capacity is strongly dependent upon local availability of fusion competent cytoplasmic organelles, specifically the reserve or yolk granule. Lastly, we demonstrate that the reserve granule is capable of rapid (t(1/2) <1 second), Ca(2+)-regulated (high threshold) fusion capable of erecting large (>1000 microm(2)), continuous membrane boundaries. Production of patch vesicles for resealing may proceed by an 'emergency' fusion mechanism distinct from that utilized for the much slower, highly regulated, cytosol-requiring organelle-organelle fusion events typical of constitutive membrane trafficking pathways.

publication date

  • June 2000