Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 46, 2014
Previous Article Next Article

Fast membrane hemifusion via dewetting between lipid bilayers

Author affiliations


The behavior of lipid bilayers is important to understand the functionality of cells like the trafficking of ions. Standard procedures to explore the properties of lipid bilayers and hemifused states typically use supported membranes or vesicles. Both techniques have several shortcomings in terms of bio-relevance or accessibility for measurements. In this article, the formation of individual free standing hemifused states between model cell membranes is studied using an optimized microfluidic scheme which allows for simultaneous optical and electrophysiological measurements. In the first step, two model membranes are formed at a desired location within a microfluidic device using a variation of the droplet interface bilayer (DiB) technique. In the second step, the two model membranes are brought into contact forming a single hemifused state. For all tested lipids, the hemifused state between free standing membranes forms within hundreds of milliseconds, i.e. several orders of magnitude faster than those reported in literature. The formation of a hemifused state is observed as a two stage process, whereas the second stage can be explained as a dewetting process under no-slip boundary conditions. The formed hemifusion states have a long lifetime and a single fusion event can be observed when triggered by an applied electric field as demonstrated for monoolein.

Graphical abstract: Fast membrane hemifusion via dewetting between lipid bilayers

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 17 Jul 2014, accepted on 19 Sep 2014 and first published on 20 Oct 2014

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM01577K
Author version
Download author version (PDF)
Citation: Soft Matter, 2014,10, 9293-9299
  •   Request permissions

    Fast membrane hemifusion via dewetting between lipid bilayers

    J. N. Vargas, R. Seemann and J. Fleury, Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 9293
    DOI: 10.1039/C4SM01577K

Search articles by author