A deep understanding of ttie physiology and biophysics of fusion - and its disease relevance - requires a broad and comprehensive approach and relies heavily upon interdisciplinary approaches honed from a decade of studies of the mechanism of viral envelope fusion. These technologies - cell and molecular biology, surface force/adhesion biophysics, and optical imaging.
The specific aims ofthe initial application covered four aspects of SNARE induced fusion: 1) SNARE distribution, mobility, and lateral interactions within the plane ofthe membrane. 2) Adhesive and molecular forces between SNAREs - determinants of transition states and the energetic. 3) Penultimate states of SNARE fusion: capturing the SNAREpin just before lipid-mixing, with a specific focus on the interplay between lipid structure and protein assembly. 4) Protein and lipidic determinants of fusion kinetics and pore formation.
This broad and comprehensive approach to elucidating the mechanism of intracellular membrane fusion by SNARE proteins will deepen our understanding ofthe physiology and biophysics effusion - and its key roles in diabetes.
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