A fluctuation wave mechanism of membrane electrofusion

  • D. S. Dimitrov
  • D. V. Zhelev
Amphiphile Solutions
Part of the Progress in Colloid & Polymer Science book series (PROGCOLLOID, volume 76)


Fusion requires close approach and destabilization of the membranes and the intervening liquid layer. Due to thermal motion or other reasons the thickness of the membranes and the distance between them fluctuate. External electric fields can change the amplitude of the fluctuations and induce instability. On oen hand, the field can induce attractive forces between the membranes. On the other hand, it can destabilize and rupture the membranes themselves. The kinetics of the fluctuation wave growth depends on the viscosities of the membranes and the medium between them as well as the other physical parameters and the amplitude of the applied electric field. We suggested a simple model to calculate the characteristic times of unstable fluctuation waves which can lead to fusion. The basic conclusion is that the fluctuation-wave mechanism is kinetically favorable for establishing close local contact between the membranes. It can also be responsible for formation of hydrophilic pores in the membranes which can serve as sites for inducing fusion. This mechanism is operating for the initial stages of electrofusion. These results do not disprove other possible mechanisms.

Key words

Membranes electrofusion fluctuation waves 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Dimitrov DS (1982) Colloid Polym Sci 260:1137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Dimitrov DS (1983) Progr Surface Sci 14:295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dimitrov DS, Zhelev DV (1984) Colloid Interf Sci 99: 327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dimitrov DS, Jain RK (1984) Biochim Biophys Acta 779:437Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Dimitrov DS, Jain RK (1984b) J Colloid Interf Sci 101:489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dimitrov DS, Zhelev DV, Jain RK (1985) J Theor Bill 113:353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dimitrov DS, Zhelev DV (1985) Studia Biophysica 110:105; (1987) Symposium on Fundamental Mechanisms of Membrane Fusion, JerusalemGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Stoicheva N, Tsoneva I, Dimitrov DS (1985) Z Naturforsch 40c:735Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Zhelev DV, Dimitrov DS, Doinov P (1988) Bioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics, in pressGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dimitrov DS (1984) J Membrane Biol 78:53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Loosley-Millman M, Rand P, Parsegian V (1982) Biophys J 40:221Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Zimmermann U (1982) Biochim Biophys Acta 694:227Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Leikin SL, Kozlov MM, Chernomordik LV, Markin VS, Markin YuA (1986) Chizmadzhey, Biologiheskie Membrani, in Russian 3:1159Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Sugar IP, Neumann E (1987) Biophys ChemGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Sowers AE (ed) (1987) Cell FusionGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Dimitrov DS, Tsoneva I, Stoicheva N, Zhelev D (1984) J Biol Phys 12:26CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Dr. Dietrich Steinkopff Verlag GmbH & Co. KG 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. S. Dimitrov
    • 1
  • D. V. Zhelev
    • 1
  1. 1.Central Laboratory of BiophysicsBulgarian Academy of scienceSofiaBulgaria

Personalised recommendations