Cholesterol stabilizes recombinant exocytic fusion pores by altering membrane bending rigidity

Biophysical Journal(2021)

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摘要
SNARE-mediated membrane fusion proceeds via the formation of a fusion pore. This intermediate structure is highly dynamic and can flicker between open and closed states. In cells, cholesterol has been reported to affect SNARE-mediated exocytosis and fusion pore dynamics. Here, we address the question of whether cholesterol directly affects the flickering rate of reconstituted fusion pores in vitro. These experiments were enabled by the recent development of a nanodisc⋅black lipid membrane recording system that monitors dynamic transitions between the open and closed states of nascent recombinant pores with submillisecond time resolution. The fusion pores formed between nanodiscs that bore the vesicular SNARE synaptobrevin 2 and black lipid membranes that harbored the target membrane SNAREs syntaxin 1A and SNAP-25B were markedly affected by cholesterol. These effects include strong reductions in flickering out of the open state, resulting in a significant increase in the open dwell-time. We attributed these effects to the known role of cholesterol in altering the elastic properties of lipid bilayers because manipulation of phospholipids to increase membrane stiffness mirrored the effects of cholesterol. In contrast to the observed effects on pore kinetics, cholesterol had no effect on the current that passed through individual pores and, hence, did not affect pore size. In conclusion, our results show that cholesterol dramatically stabilizes fusion pores in the open state by increasing membrane bending rigidity.
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