A quantitative assessment of the role of lateral tension, curvature, and external forces in membrane fusion

The major goal of this proposal is to provide a platform to control important physical parameters driving membrane fusion, i.e. membrane tension and compressional forces. Membrane tension, which plays an important role in assisting and also prohibiting fusion will be adjusted by using parallel plate compression of giant liposomes subject to fusion with smaller vesicles. Forces associated with fusion of peptide model systems will be measured and adjusted using membrane-coated beads attached to atomic force microscopy cantilevers.